Ten years ago, when Mr. Go and I left our hometown, a remote place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we never dreamed we would go back for anything longer than a vacation.
But we've Lived and Learned™ and our priorities have changed.
Were I a more spiteful person than I already am, I would have dug my heels in and refused to go back, knowing that some people will view it as a failure. As if our seven years in Colorado were for naught, just because we decided not to stay indefinitely.
But A) That is so untrue I almost can't even talk about it and B) I feel sad for the people who hold the narrow view that the destination is the point of the journey.
Colorado has felt like home. It's where my daughter was born. It's where I learned how to be me. I will always love Colorado, the people, the opportunities it offers and the experiences I've had here. There's nothing that says we won't move back in a year or two or 10. But right now, what's best for us is to relieve ourselves of the burden of a too-large home and put that equity to better use.
Mr. Go and I have talked about selling our home for many months, but I was not ready to leave CO. But the more I thought about the prospect of living near family the more appealing it became. Anyone who has raised a child without immediate family nearby knows: it's hard. Not only was having help appealing, but I missed my family too.
So we listed our house for sale with the aggressive timeline of leaving for Michigan two weeks later.
Rather than going the U-Haul route, we decided to downsize and only take what would fit in our cars. (It ended up being 3 car-fulls, as Mr. Go and I drove back labor day weekend for Phish @ Dicks.) We purged the house during the HOA's garage sale weekend and started selling off the large items that would not be making the trip back with us.
The house is now (finally) under contract. But here's the great part: buying a home in Michigan was not contingent on selling the home in Colorado. Houses in the U.P. are so cheap it's bananas.
It's been almost a month in our new home and the perks of a smaller-town living are pretty great. In no particular order:
1. Bike Everywhere
And less worry about being hit by a car!! We no longer live in the 'burbs, where everything is a 10-15 minute car ride across the highway and impossible by bike. We live in town, where I can bike on the quiet streets towing Babs in the Burley Minnow (which btw, is super awesome).
I won't bother trying to express my full gratitude for having my family around me again, it'd only bore you and I'd wind up crying onto my keyboard. Suffice it to say, being able to drop Babs off with Grandma to go do something, or bike over to Mom's house for lunch is, at this moment, perfection.
3. Familiar Faces
This has the added benefit of actually making me feel safer. I no longer lock up my bike when I go into the store. My cousin teaches in Babs' pre-school building. I see an aunt at the grocery store at least once a week. This may become tiresome at some point, and of course there are some familiar faces that may not be so welcome but after living so long as a small fish in a big pond where you can go your whole day without making eye contact in public with anyone, let alone a meaningful connection, right now I find it pretty neat.
It takes a special mindset to go back to small-town living after living in a metropolis like the Front Range of Colorado. You have to want it. You have to be able to appreciate it or you'll probably hate it. Undoubtedly, there are downsides. (Fewer options for everything, everyone knows everyone, less to do to entertain yourself.)
But yesterday I dropped Babs with one grandma and spent the morning blackberry picking with the other. Never coulda done that before.
We haven't gone backward. I don't even consider it coming home. We've simply moved our mobile family again for another adventure, and wherever my family unit happens to be--that's home.