Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Start Where You Are

Sometimes when you are trying to make a decision, it is best to just start with where you are. So here we are, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. What are some pros to staying here?

1. The Spring just can't be beat- to see the world come all alive again after being dead and gone for so many months is truly inspiring.
2. Our House- has a huge jacuzzi bathtub that I love, a neighborhood we like a lot, and an unfinished basement that would be fun to see fixed up to add more space for our family to grow. Extra bonus: if we stay here, we could possibly ride out the housing market downturn and not lose money on our house. :)
3. My Job- I love working for Meijer. They have been good to me- have been super flexible with my hours, and I know and love what I do there. It would be a challenge to move to an entirely different community or state and potentially have to take another state's pharmacy law exam... ugh!
4. Fairly Low Cost of Living- it is much cheaper to live here than it is to live in Phoenix, or in many larger cities.
5. The Grass Probably Isn't Greener- it is usually true that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. Any community is going to have its downsides and troubles and probably they aren't any worse or better than what we have here.
6. Proximity to My Family- Brad's family is moving to South Carolina in '09, so they will not be close to us unless we move to SC (an unlikely scenario)... but my parents and both sisters live within just a few hours of here, so we see them frequently. It has been such a blessing in this time of life to be close to family. I would be very sad to live too far for quick day trip to see them.
7. Relationships and Roots- this is probably the number one reason I'd want to stay here. It took a good 2 years after moving here, but we finally have begun to develop deep and meaningful relationships with people that we would miss very much if we had to leave. I truly hate that "transplanted" feeling

On the flip side... what are some drawbacks to staying in Grand Rapids?

1. W-I-N-T-E-R! This winter has been the worst one I can remember! Especially now that Carolyn is here, I truly hate the cold, snowy, icy, gray, dreary, cloudy weather in the winter. Although there are some pretty moments when the snow is sparkling in a few feeble rays of sunshine and clinging to the trees like frosting in a land of gingerbread houses- it seems as though winter lasts FOREVER! I feel stuck in my house, unable to get out and go anywhere without being afraid of being smashed to bits on the roads- and if we do get out, we are severely limited on where we can go... most of the time we end up at the grocery store or the mall- and if I let Carolyn work out some of her wiggles in the play area at the mall, I am just asking for her to get sick! It seems like a never-ending cycle. I am sick of it. Right now I feel like Michigan is trying to boot us out!
2. Too Small-Town- While we like the feeling of a smaller town, it can be a little oppressive at times. There are a few good restaurants, but not really a whole lot of variety of places to eat and things to do. It would be fun to live somewhere with a little more going on.
3. Depressed Economy- Anyone who reads the news knows that Michigan isn't doing so hot with pretty much all its eggs in the downward spiraling auto industry. While the cost of living remains pretty low, it's a little bit of a bummer to live in a place where things just aren't up and moving. There's a real lack of positive "energy," for lack of a better word, here.
4. Crazy Governor with Nasty Mole- We aren't big fans of the folks up in Lansing making the tax laws that benefit the bureaucracy and those who live off it at the expense of people who dare to make a bit more than average (after much hard work and significant sacrifice). I just finished doing my taxes. I'm not a fan of Michigan tax law. And besides, Governor Granholm really should get that thing removed (but I guess I can admit that that's a side point :))
5. You Mean, We Might Stay Forever? This next move is our last forseeable relocation. God may lead us to go somewhere else later on down the line, but neither of us has that impression at this time. In all likelihood, the place we settle next will be where we stay to raise our kids and live out the majority of our lives... and when I think about that place being here, in Grand Rapids... some "free spirit" part of me feels trapped- like I'm locking myself in to never reaching beyond where we are now... my sense of adventure (which typically has to work pretty hard to get past my even deeper sense of "roots") just feels like it would be boring to stay here forever!
6. Obstetrical Saturation- this is probably the number one reason that staying here may not be a viable option for us. There are more than enough OB/GYNs in this area to meet the current demand and there really isn't a whole lot of room (that we know of) for Brad to set up the kind of practice he really wants.

So there you have it, the pros and cons list. Thanks for reading this far, Mom! :)


Transplant said...

Now don't you feel better after getting all that into words? Doesn't that help you clarify? Aren't you glad you had this long conversation with your mother?

You have surely noted that I post as Transplant, for I certainly was transplanted here. I, who spent my entire life moving and moving and moving, have now spent nearly 12 years in the same place, and that being the frozen North of Yankee Land.

(continued in next comment)

Transplant said...

Concerning the tax situation, might I point out that only seven states have no state income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. New Hampshire and Tennessee, tax only dividend and interest income. You can compare tax rates here.

Transplant said...

You can't be nearly as verbose if you are just a commenter!

But I'm enjoying your musings. Our future is also in question. We have no reason to stay where we are long term (beyond 5-10 years). Wherever you land will be one point of a triangle for us, and then we'll be asking whither then?