Roots vs wings

Phil and I bought our house in 2005, right as the market was starting to slow, but before the credit markets had figured it all out. We thought it was the right thing to do, and after having lived in a 400 square foot apartment for 3 years, we were definitely ready for a little elbow room in our lives. We bought an 80 year old home in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood (read: ripe for gentrification). It was CHEAP, but liveable, and had been recently renovated, although on the smallest possible budget.

After 4 years of home ownership, I’m beginning to get a little wanderlust. We spent two weeks in Italy for our honeymoon, and absolutely fell in love with the Tuscan countryside. We fantasize about having babies grow up with Italian mud between their toes, and the smell of grapes in the air. Phil could make art, and I’d write, or sell Phil’s art, or bake muffins all day. And I could finally see Paris. And we could spend a month in Puerto Rico, where my brother will be living for at least two more years, as part of the US Coast Guard. And we could finally make a trip to New Hampshire and Maine to see family that always invite us, but where we never seem to make it because we run out of vacation time. Rather than try to claw out as long a weekend as we can  in the middle of the summer, we could spend the entire month of July on Phil’s dad’s farm. And we’d definitely spend more time with Phil’s grandparents near Daytona, and maybe finally actually see the beach down there. I want the freedom to just pick up and go. We don’t have kids, although Ella might as well be one (and that puts a small crimp on the Europe plans.) If we did have kids, I’d like to think we could live the gypsy lifestyle with them. See the world, taste it, breathe it, drink it, swim it. If we didn’t have debt, it’s not like we’d have many other living expenses.

But then, I look at the house, and I think… man, I’d love a nice kitchen. And let’s tear up the front yard and make it into a huge vegetable garden. Let’s put in a picket fence, and rebuild the front porch, and put a sunroom on the back of the house. Let’s settle in. Let’s fix the broken stairs, and figure out how to make the basement a little less subject to wetness, and let’s tear down that horrible garage and give Phil the car space and art space he deserves. The late summer sun creates the most fantastic light, and I love sitting back there with a vodka tonic. (We’ll have to figure out something to do about those damn mosquitos though.) Our neighborhood isn’t exactly the ideal for raising kids, but it’s not unsafe, and we’ve got plenty of time to figure out what we’ll do about schools. (Homeschooling isn’t out of the picture.)

Phil and I are both having the same argument in our heads, I think. Especially because he now has a job that he can work anywhere, the tethers have lifted for him. I’m still chained to the paycheck and the office hours, although I’m insanely jealous of Phil’s schedule. At the same time, he’s reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” and he’s planning our crop rotations for three years out.

Do we sell it all, say goodbye to our city and friends, and take off into the world? Or do we hunker down, settle in, finally get truly cozy in our home? (And how to pay for either option??)

In short, do we spread our wings, or sink our roots?

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