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As my daughter approaches her matriculation to whatever school or training program will come after she (crosses fingers and toes) graduates from high school, and my husband and I begin to think about downsizing and eventual retirement, at least from the corporate work gig, the topic of where to live often comes up.

If I had a spare seven or eight million dollars and could afford to move all of my friends with me, I’d love to head back to the east coast – Maine or Massachusetts – and buy a little cottage on the coast.  However, the odds of me earning a spare seven or eight mil are slim to none, and besides which, I’ve lived in the Midwest for so long now that I’m not sure I’d fit in there anymore.

Moving to small little burg outside of Taos or Santa Fe has also come up.  Some friends and I half-jokingly talk about the adobe compound we want to build, akin to a 70s commune, where we’ll grow herbs and vegetables in the courtyard, raise alpaca and knit textiles with the fleece, and throw our own pots.  As long as we have internet, that would be delightful!

Another option would be to find some hamlet in northern Wisconsin, where the only things in town are a post office, a coffee shop and a green grocer, and we’d reside in a rustic (but modern) cottage by a crystal clear lake.  I can hear the loons calling over the water now. (Hey now!  Stop calling my friends loons! 😊)

I’ve also even considered moving outside the US.  A little thatched-roof cottage in the west of Ireland maybe, or a small villa on the Costa del Sol, where the ocean is just a stone’s throw away.  I’ve always liked Oslo or the cosmopolitan flavor of The Hague.  Hey, I could totally learn Dutch, right?

There is also the option of just staying where we are, in our current house.  It has a lovely basement (AKA, the Man Cave), room for Rachel (in case of an unsuccessful launch) and familiar surrounds.  But frankly, I worry that my neighbors already want to burn crosses on my lawn, vegetable gardening is tough when you live on six feet of clay, and the real estate taxes in this area are so crazy expensive that unless that spare seven or eight mil shows up, I’m pretty sure we’d end up living in a double Frigidaire box on Lower Wacker Drive if we stay.

So, the question becomes, what’s really important?  Location?  Amenities?  A view of the surf?  The ability to lower our carbon footprint?  A place to wait out the zombie apocalypse?  I could list a bunch of criteria, and we likely will before the exercise is complete, like access to nature and square footage and hobby space and a fenced in yard for the Admiral.  But I guess at the end of the day, even if we end up staying here in Plastic Suburbia, it really comes down to just a couple of critical things.  Being able to spend time with friends and family, and the freedom to do the things we love to do.

Have I made a decision?  Nope.  Probably won’t, for a number of years.  In the meantime, I’ll be working on convincing all my friends that the best place for ALL of us to retire is somewhere together!  If you guys have any suggestions – or maybe a little place on the French Riviera you’re willing to sell me for the price of a bottle of next year’s Nouveau Beaujolais – feel free to leave a comment below!

Meanwhile, and as always,

Illegitimi non carborundum!