I came across an old, crumpled piece of paper while unpacking yesterday. It was a real estate printout for a condo that was going on sale in the Boston area. Given the location of the condo, I would say that this was something we printed up back in 2010.
I remember that period in our lives fairly well. The apartment complex we were renting from was jacking up their prices, and we were beginning to wonder if it would be in our best interest to buy a condo. This was around when my husband started working in New Hampshire and thought he could do the commute from Boston to New Hampshire indefinitely.
It's funny how life twists and turns on you. My husband and I both thought we were forever city dwellers. We loved Boston, abhorred the suburbs, and thought that this was how it was forever going to be.
Then my husband got laid off during the financial crisis. After a few months of job searching, he found a contract position in New Hampshire. The commute was tiring, but, hey, it was only a contract job. And then they hired him full-time and we moved up north.
I remember being so apprehensive about moving to Nashua. I was used to the city. And, really, any other city other than Boston or New York wasn't a city, but the suburbs with concrete hats on. I lived across the street from a T stop and could access everything by T, bike, or the line of Zipcars that were parked in my apartment complex's garage. How was I going to do something like a city in New Hampshire?
But Nashua grew on me, and fast. I loved how I could turn left and be within a stone's throw of every possible store imaginable, or I could turn right and find myself in cow country (which, ironically enough, was just over the NH border in Massachusetts).
My abhorrence for suburbs still stands. I go back to my hometown and I feel antsy. Houses and buildings are just far enough to be inefficient, but just close enough to be suffocating. But the years have taught me how much love I have for smaller towns, where houses have an acre or two of land and there's a good chance your property borders a few miles of forest. I always had a soft spot for small towns and rural areas. I had spent every summer from infancy to the age of 19 in tiny, wooded towns, at campsites that had an electrical outlet and water spout and little else. But I didn't realize that my love for these little towns was not the naïve, puppy love of a child, but rather the deep and calming love of an adult.
You never know where life is going to take you. If you told 16-year-old me that I'd be living on 3 acres of land, with a chicken coop in my backyard, I would've laughed. I would've gone on to explain just how wrong you were -- how I was going to live in Boston for the rest of my life.
My best friend actually said the same thing, before she, too, got laid off from her job. She decided it was time to venture out of her comfort zone and move a timezone over into Chicago. There's no way to predict where things are going to go. It's like trying to predict how the river is going to spin you around. The only proper thing to do is enjoy the ride and have faith that the river will bring you to the ocean.