There are three maps that I’ve been referring to a lot in the last few weeks. The first is this one:
Followed by this one:
And then this one:
And I am hopeful.
Before the whole Massachusetts discussion, leaving Colorado was a distant option in my mind. I wanted to stay here because, honestly, this is what I know. I’ve been here for 19 years now, which is a little hard to believe. My dad is here. I have friends here (though I realized the other day that the majority of my friends live in other states). I love the mountains.
But even though I’ve made some amazing friends and memories here, I’ve never really wanted to be here. This has been the case even from the very beginning when my dad announced that we were moving across the country in the middle of my freshman year of high school. I wrote on my About page when I first published it that I wanted to move back to the midwest, where I grew up, or to Ireland, someday. I’ve never changed that line, which is why it’s strange for me to think that now, when I have pretty much the perfect opportunity to chase that dream, I decided that I wanted to stay here. Part of me wonders if I came to peace with the fact that it’s not Colorado that I dislike, but rather Denver. Part of me wonders if I was just too scared to think about packing everything up and moving anywhere else because it’s all out there. What do I know about out there?
But when Massachusetts started to become more and more of a possibility and we started looking at things like home prices and raw milk availability and homeschool laws and taxes in other states, I began to picture myself out there and I started to feel really hopeful. Hopeful that maybe that little voice I heard when E was first laid off that said that there’s something better out there for us wasn’t just me talking to myself. That maybe it’s the truth…that maybe it’s okay to dream about something better. That maybe all of these dreams I have about our future can come true…..though not in Colorado.
I still have land envy, and it’s all the more true now that B is a real little boy (rather than only a toddler hinting at becoming a real little boy) and has so.much.energy, but is cooped up all day because our “yard” consists of a second-floor patio. When we started looking at homes in Denver earlier this year, the ones that fell within our price range were modest places on tiny lots. We’re not farmers. We weren’t looking to buy 40+ acres or even just a hobby farm. But we wanted space. Somewhere we could spread our legs a little and maybe get a few chickens. We knew, though, that as long as we stayed in Denver, that wasn’t going to happen and we lowered our hopes and thought maybe a cookie cutter lot, crammed in with 7 others one one acre, was just how it would be.
When I started looking at real estate in other places, I began to realize just how inflated prices are here and that’s when I start to get excited. We have the entire country open to us now. It’s not as if we didn’t before, but there’s something about not being tied down with a job that makes the decision to leave a little less difficult. So E has been applying in all kinds of places and each time he does, I load up the real estate site just to see what’s available and, without fail, I see beautiful, HUGE lots (at least an acre or more) with trees and views and streams and NATURE and all the things that go with having land. And I get so, so excited for what our future can look like.
I think it’s pretty easy in a situation like ours to get down and discouraged and feeling pretty hopeless, especially this time of year when everyone else is making holiday plans and embracing the cheer of the season. But, really, I’ve found that hope is a choice and I want to keep ending up on the positive side of that choice. I want to be able to dream about the future. Dream about the house we’ll end up raising our kids in. Dream about the little piece of property that will be ours and the possiblities that will open up to us when we have a place to raise those chickens and plant a garden and feel grass between our toes in the summer time.
I choose to be hopeful.