All of my thoughts lately have been about where we live because we’re likely to begin a remodel project soon, but we have a small, dwindling window where we can move instead of rebuild. I’ve hashed out many of the pros and cons, but it’s forced me to revisit the town where we live and decide once again if it’s right for us.
From a distance, towns next to each other tend to look a lot like, but up close, the subtle differences make them stand apart enough to complicate the decision of where to live.
I love the Bay Area and even though I grew up in gorgeous Marin County, I love living on the Peninsula. We’d never leave the area, despite turning green with envy any time friends from other regions post housing listings on Facebook where the entire house cost less than our down payment. I expect to only leave the Bay Area if my kids settle somewhere else as adults and we leave to be near them. So really, the decision is do we stay where we live, which is an unincorporated part of the county with a lovely rural feel, the true city down hill, which is mostly cheaper and closer to stores and schools, or to the nicer town nearby where our kids go to school?
While it would be great to live near the kids’ school, that’s only a short term connection. After eighth grade, we’d still be living there, even though the kids would be at different schools. Living in the nicer town somewhat locks us into our high school, where our current location makes a few different high schools possible.
There is a lot of talk about preparing our kids to live in a diverse world, which is somewhat thrown against me when people find out my kids go to a private school. I have a few snide responses that I keep to myself, but part of what they are saying is true. Our greater community is diverse and we’re apart of that through local sports and activities. If we move south, my kids would have a much less diverse experience. Diversity isn’t merely about race, but about economic class too, and the nicer town is more homogenized. There’s an annual Fourth of July parade here, and another parade in December. And a pet parade. Plus, all kinds of dancing in the town square, outdoor movies, and live music in the parks. We don’t have to leave the town for true family entertainment.
Much of the problem lies with me. When I tell people where we live (I generally say the town downhill because most people have never heard of our little unincorporated area or others think it’s attached to the city downhill anyway), if I get a judgmental response, it’s their problem, not mine. I shouldn’t feel bad or inferior because there is nothing to feel bad about. We live in a great place with cool people. Somethings are more important than median income.