Big Dreams, Small Town

Back in my late teens, I had it all planned out.  College.  Degree.  Own Business.  Super Successful.  Build House.  Maybe Family.  Travel the World.  Nice Cars.  Nice Clothes.  But as things go, life doesn’t always work out like planned.  Or sometimes, it’s just delayed.  When I was a senior in high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate and get out of my hometown.  It seemed small and boring.  There was so much more out there in bigger cities and urban areas.  Why would I stay in such a lame, rural area?  Phhttt…

At 28, I ended up moving back to my hometown because I was broke, getting a divorce and had three kids.  I had to move in with my mom for awhile until I got on my feet.  That was 1998.  Fast forward to 2015.  I’m still in the town I once thought to be the epitome of cultural devoid.  Except I finished raising my daughters here, they graduated from the same high school I did.  For years, I had planned my escape.  When the girls get through school, I’ll do X and move to Y.   Recently, I’ve had my chance to escape this town, except I didn’t feel that way anymore.

The school system had been good to my kids.  The people of our community, not just parents and grandparents, are ferverent supporters of not only sports, but academics and the arts.  The school I once detested, became a source of pride as even as something as remote as Quiz Bowl had a grand showing of support.  We knew to get into the classroom first for the next match because our school’s supporters would fill up the entire room.  Where the other schools ours was competing against, usually only had a few parents show up.   Once at a playoff football game against a very urban team at a large stadium, our team’s side was crammed full and the opposing team’s side was practically empty.  Whispers of “Should we go sit on the other side?” waved through the crowd as you could tell our side felt bad that these kids didn’t have much support.

My husband and I decided it was time for us to find a new home.  Since the girls are out of high school, we had been looking at other towns that would allow either of us to commute to work.  Larger towns with more shopping and restaurants.  Places I thought I would rather live.  We explored different communities, even ones that would require me to look for a new job.  We had to really think about where we wanted to live.  The more populated an area was, the less we seemed to want to move there.  We found a few homes in upscale neighborhoods that were somewhat secluded but I could not bring myself to put in an offer on them.  My husband was getting frustrated with me.  Why couldn’t I decide on a place?  What is wrong with this house?  It has everything we say we wanted.  Except they never felt right to me.

Then last week, we were out driving in the country to take a look at another house that was in the country but needed some work.  My husband spotted our realtor taking pictures outside of this red brick two-story colonial house I had ridden my bike past numerous times.  Obviously it was coming onto the market.  We were the first people to be shown the house and the first to make an offer on it.  They immediately accepted our offer because they were transferring north for the husband’s job.  Everything is still in the initial stages, we have a month until we close on the house and things fall through but I’m hopeful that in a few months this will be my new home.

Years before, I would ride my bike by this house and think about how pretty it was sitting up on a hill looking over the rolling country side.  I also knew, it was out of my reach at the time.  A wistful dream.  This morning I was lying in bed thinking about my dreams from years ago and I immediately knew why this house appealed to me over all the others we looked at.  When I was daydreaming about the type of house I would build, it was very similar to this one.  One a hill, on some land and out away from everyone in the country.  Maybe we never really forget the dreams we thought were lost.  Somewhere in our psyche, they live and even though we might think they are gone forever, we are always moving toward them.  Just as I told my husband, when I walk into the ‘right’ house, I will know it.  And this time I knew it was the right one rather than trying to make something else work.

The funny thing is that my “dream” house wasn’t outside of a big city, but just right outside the small town I wanted to leave so badly in my youth.  The town that now, I found I really didn’t want to leave.  Maybe I have to drive an hour to go to this or that but it is well worth it to have peace and solitude.   It may be over a quarter of a century since I dreamt about the house I would one day own, but here it is, right in my reach.  I suppose the moral of the story is don’t give up on your dreams.  But I think the biggest lesson to me is sometimes you are right where you are supposed to be.

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