________

Good choices, bad choices, and the inability to tell the difference.

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The driveway of a house I’ve never seen:

Screen shot 2010-07-13 at 10.20

________

This xkcd comic:

Screen shot 2010-07-13 at 10.18.29 AM

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Stephanie
Stephanie
13 years ago

“When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”
-John M. Richardson, Jr.

Beth
Beth
13 years ago

Whatever it is you want to do so badly, I think you should do it. It’s obviously important to you.

Susan
13 years ago

For me, the scariest part is actually making the decision. Once it’s made, I know I’ll be willing and able to do what it takes to make it the right one.

Not sure if this applies to your current situation, but I suspect that whatever you decide will be the right choice.

kristin c.
13 years ago

Linda,

This is totally the place my family is in right now. Thank you so much for writing about it. Each time you mention it I feel a little more inspired, more brave, more excited to go down our “road less traveled”.

You guys can totally do it.
XOXO

JennB
JennB
13 years ago

You never know unless you try it. Take the path less taken – it may make all the difference. Good luck, Linda!!!

cbo
cbo
13 years ago

OMG! I can’t get thru a day without a helping of XKCD.

NancyJ
13 years ago

I think you should not think in terms of Good Choice or Bad Choice and instead make the Choice For What You Currently Want In Life.
I made a choice 23 years ago to move to California to live with someone I barely knew and I’m still married to him.
We made a choice 15 years ago to move to Connecticut to be near my family and left 2 good jobs. We’re still here.
I made a choice 10 years ago to quit my fulltime job, my husband made a choice to strike out on his own. We’re considered one of the best remodeling businesses in our area.
You have to be willing to strike out and have the faith to know it is possible. I think you and JB have what it takes and I really really hope you see it too.

Kate
Kate
13 years ago

I’m with with Nancy. Just decide what you want the most, now, and take the risk. It is very easy to regret inaction. Action is harder to regret – even if it’s turns out not like you planned, you will grow, and learn, and move forward from that new point.

Sarah
Sarah
13 years ago

You should do it – It is what you want and why not try. If you are willing to work hard, you can make it successful – Isn’t that the American Dream?

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

I’m really not oen to talk, considering my current method of procrastination is the save searches on MLS in places where I do not live and do not have a job. But. I cannot stop. So.

ANYWAY. I would guess that keeping the status quo isn’t really an option for you guys right now, given how much you’re chafing against it. So. Next step is… ?

jen (melty)
jen (melty)
13 years ago

I think you should totally build a house in the mountains where you want to be :)

jen
jen
13 years ago

That driveway is awesome.

Also…I agree with the other comments on it’s not a good versus bad. Very few things are so certainly either good or bad. Most are the in between and what you make of it, what’s best for you specifically not anyone else.

I also think the hardest thing is making the decision. Once it is done, it’s done and you put one foot in front of the other and just go with it. At my old job (where I was miserable), I gave myself a deadline of when to quit and then it was up to me to have the after figured out by then. I think sometimes you have to just decide and then figure out the details later. If you wait until everything is just right…you might be waiti

scantee
scantee
13 years ago

I’m in the same boat as you regarding big life changes and one thing that has really helped me is to realize I don’t need to make a change right this second, I just have set a goal to get certain things in order to prepare for that eventuality. For me, the goal is to make the big change three years from now, when my oldest starts kindergarten. Hell, maybe things will go great and we can take the leap before then but, if not, that date gives me something to work towards and provides a lot of mental relief. (Not that I hate my life now, its great, but now that I (we) know I want a change a deadline of sorts keeps me focused.)

All of your posts about contemplating life changes have been very reassuring to me, just to know there are so many others who are going to (or have) make these decisions and come out the other side happy and at peace.

jen
jen
13 years ago

Argh it posted my comment. Last sentence should end: you might be waiting a long time.

Angharad
Angharad
13 years ago

Yes to the house, no to the storm chasing.
Simple really.

:-)

Jillian
Jillian
13 years ago

1) Continue to make bad decisions until they have bad consequences.

2) It will always work out. It always has.

3) You will never be homeless and you will never be hungry– too many people love you and care about you (and your family).

Now jump.

dani
13 years ago

if you jump, what’s the worst that could happen? you end up penniless and homeless? you’ve already proven you can camp.

anon
anon
13 years ago

I want to offer the perspective of somebody who decided to make a major change, is happier for it, but is paying a price.

Five years ago I left a well paying job I hated (TMI: I would vomit each morning before I left) for an internship in a field I was pretty sure I would like.

I did extensive research: I took classes, researched careers, talked to people who had made similar changes, sought professional career counseling, etc. Still, I couldn’t *know* my career change would work out. I knew leaving my job for another field would involve starting COMPLETELY over. Plus, the politics of my awful job were such that if I quit I would never be able to work in the field again. The community was small; I would be blacklisted.

I agonized. I made pro/con lists. I solicited advice from everybody I came into contact with…

I quit.

Ultimately I’m happy with my decision, but I paid a huge financial price. The biggest issue is my medical expenses. You’ve previously talked about some pretty expensive meds. I too have expensive medical issues, and there are times when I can’t afford the copays. Additionally, I’ve had to give up treatments that were beneficial because insurance didn’t cover them and I can’t afford the out of pocket expense.

Eventually I’ll progress enough in my new field to have financial security, but I don’t have it now. I’m definitely healthier now that I’m away from my awful job stress, but I traded one type of stress for another.

I’m not trying to discourage you. You’re an intelligent woman – I’m sure you’ve considered all of the consequences. I just wanted to share my story titled “I made the change, traded new stresses for the old, but I’m still glad I did it.”

Regardless of your decision, best of luck to you and your family.

Judy
Judy
13 years ago

Do what seems right. Don’t think too far ahead. You can’t save enough to pay for the kids’ college anyway, so let them go to community college or get scholarships. Live where you want to live, how you want to live. Life is short, but it’s wide.

I’d be happy to be your nanny if I can live in those mountains with you.

Heather
Heather
13 years ago

It’s like starting school again. You define what you want and then the steps to get there. You can do it; you have already proven that to yourself. We are making similar steps in our family (heading to the forest, not the mountains, though) and while the big picture is overwhelming, the reality is it is made up of lots of little steps of preparation. And I’m good at little steps. Plus you know you have a great partner to help lighten the amount of work!

MichelleH
MichelleH
13 years ago

Do it. Do it. Do it.

I am so bad at that. I really am. But in recent months I have made a couple leaps. They didn’t really turn out that well or not ideally anyway. But I can still say that my life in the most important ways, is a lot better than before I made the attempt. And I can say that even after having crashed and burned.

There is so much value placed on not taking risks and I guess I get it. I definitely learned and internalized it because I’m not really a risk taker but really if you think about it, in most cases where you are deciding to “go for it” or “don’t go for it” the answer is usually to try. How much worse off can you really end up than you are now? It may sound cheesy but I am really trying to do better at having the courage to live my dreams. You are smart and if it is a risk that is too stupid to take, you already know that. If it is still rattling around in your head, there must be something to it. :)

MichelleH
MichelleH
13 years ago

@anon–Yes, that is a perfect way to describe it. I paid a price financially for my choices too. But ultimately I prefer my current stresses to the old ones and in many cases that is what it all comes down to.

kristin c.
13 years ago

LOVE Dani’s comment! AHAHA!

dorrie
dorrie
13 years ago

Well, whatever you decide to do or not do, just keep writing about it. You rock.

kim
kim
13 years ago

I’m going to type what I think before I read the comments because too much information muddles my thinking (this is what you want to hear from someone who is offering life advice online, after all…).

JB quit his secure (ish?) job for the unknown – and while you’ve indicated that hasn’t taken off yet, I feel certain it will. Every doctor’s office I go to uses laptops from room to room – soon it will likely be required that all physicians use EMR (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jirBooiEmyA6zgUM1mqCgF4ehlxQD9GUB4MO1)…he’s right on the cusp of what should prove to be a booming business.

I tend to think in terms of worst case scenarios – and let’s say everything falls to pieces and you move in with family – you do have family to lean on (which I feel certain you’d never need to) if it ever came to that. For me that gives me a psychological safety net of knowing I can take a leap – it’s like going somewhere I’ve never been or unsure of, I drive myself so if I’m overwhelmed or hate it, I can get in my car and go home (instead of the alternative, trapped with friends/family until they are ready to leave and I’m bordering on going postal). I need the psychological safety net to do things I might otherwise feel too afraid to try.

I’m rambling. What I know is I’m 44 years old and I stayed in dead-end (for me, in that accounting is soul-suckingly boring) jobs for security instead of pursuing a life that would have given me joy. I’m trying to turn that around now, but if I could talk to my younger self I would say take chances, follow your heart because things fall into place or they don’t – but that soul-sucking feeling of choosing the road well traveled and safe is not the life I wish I had led.

I have every confidence that if you take a leap, you’ll land on your feet.

Bachelor Girl
13 years ago

I know you’re TOTALLY going to take advice about major life decisions from strangers on the internet, right?

Nevertheless, I vote DO IT.

kim
kim
13 years ago

http://www.salon.com/wires/techbiz/2010/07/13/D9GUB4MO1_us_computerized_health_records/

My other link didn’t work, so I’m trying this one…

kim
kim
13 years ago
Christine
13 years ago

Jump.

Seriously. I would. I totally get where you are at. (based on what you have been writing about)

Life is far too short to be waiting around for ‘someday’. Make a plan, make the decision, bite the bullet and Get. On. With. It.

I doubt you want to come to the end of your life and think, “why didn’t we…?” or “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we’d…?”

Go for it. You know you want to. :)

Kristin
Kristin
13 years ago

This hits so close for me right now. Thanks for this. It’s like the universe just gave me a nudge.

6512 and growing
13 years ago

Curious to see what’s next…

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

I have literally been dreaming of a cabin for years now, I could walk into it and tell you where every single thing is. The land surrounding it, the animals that come there. I can describe the nearest trees and pond, and the porch on the front. All the way down to the saddle on the rail of the corral.

I’ve dreamed of this place for years, a recurring dream, over and over.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to find it, and make it mine. I’m working toward that now. I just wish I’d gotten off my ass sooner.

Do what you think is right, and if it’s not, even that is not the end of the world. You can just change again, it’ll be okay, nothing is permanent.

Maureen
Maureen
13 years ago

I’m going to be 50 in a few months, and I will tell you now, it isn’t the leaps I have regrets about, but the times I didn’t leap. Like others have said above, it may not be perfect, it may not be the way you thought it would be, but it may open up something else that is wonderful.

I will leave you with the words my stepmother said to me, as she was about to give me a haircut with bangs, and I wasn’t sure about that. With scissors in hand she said “if you aren’t ready to make a change, you might as well be dead.” That was 30 years ago, and I still think about that when I have to make a decision to leave my comfort zone. Little did she know she was giving me a life credo!

Jessamyn
13 years ago

I am so right there with you. I do feel that I’ve made some bad choices (or at least “bad for me” choices) in the past, and I have no way of knowing how I’ll feel later about the choices I’m making now. But one lesson I feel like the universe is trying to teach me, over and over, and over, and that I’m trying to apply to future decisions: do it because you love it, not because you think you “should.” And then, worst case, even if it goes to hell or you change your mind later, you got to experience something you loved. (For me, this would have meant that I wouldn’t have gone to law school and wouldn’t have bought the condo that’s going to sell for half of what we bought it for – among other things.)

Victoria
13 years ago

If it helps to have the unconditional support of a stranger on the internet, know you have mine.

I’m cheering you on no matter what.

Becky Mochaface
13 years ago

I think about those things all the time. Well, maybe not that particular driveway. But another one.

Marie Green
13 years ago

I go with my gut in situations like this, and so far it’s worked out for me. I seem to have strong gut reactions or instincts or whatever… and I’ve learned to trust them and follow them. However, I recognize that not everyone operates that way, and if you don’t then I don’t know what to tell you.

I will say that living someplace remote- and therefore lacking amenities- is difficult at first. But then, the amenities seem… silly and you realize that when you live somewhere without the static of STUFF TO BUY EVERYWHERE, real community happens. There’s nothing to do here in Tiny Town except for get together in each other’s homes or at parks. So that’s what we do, and we love it.

Judy
Judy
13 years ago

I’ve done it twice. In 1992, at the age of 49, I quit a good job in Kansas City and moved to Florida to be closer to my expected grandchild. I brought only what would fit in a 4×6 U-Haul. It all worked out just fine.

In 2002, wanting adventure, I quit my job in Florida and moved to Oregon with only what would fit in 2 suitcases and a few boxes which I shipped by UPS (computer, books, family photos). It didn’t work. I looked for a job for a year, ended up taking early retirement, and lived for another year on social security benefits of $867 a month. I ended up back in Florida. But I don’t regret going, because I spent two years in the most wildly beautiful country in the world, met some nice people, and learned to appreciate what was back here in Florida.

You don’t know if it’s going to work until you try it. If it doesn’t work, oh well. Pick up the pieces and try something else. But if you don’t do it, it will nag at you forever.

agirlandaboy
13 years ago

I don’t envy you and yet…I do. It seems you have scary choices ahead, but you also have huge, brave balls (can balls be brave? or do they just make you brave?) and I think it’s going to be a spectacular adventure no matter what happens.

Lo
Lo
13 years ago

I am just finishing doing something epically stupid, irresponsible, unconventional, random, and crazy. I gave up a stable, comfortable, but not deeply satisfying life to do it.

Along the way, a few people have criticized or teased me – “you can’t live like a hippie your whole life,” “vagabond” – but fewer than I thought. About 10% of the people I’ve met have told me “I did something like that” and told me about something insane they did. None of them, not one, expressed regret.

The remaining portion – the most massive by far – are people who say, “I’ve always wanted to do something like that,” or “I’ve been planning for years to do that!” They all think it’s awesome, and want to listen to stories all night.

It hasn’t always been fun. I’d estimate up to 40% of the time isn’t enjoyable at all, because I’m freaking out about something or other – usually nothing is wrong, I’m just scared. I’m reaching an age where I’m expected to settle down, but I just… haven’t settled. So I stopped even pretending.

I’ve been on the road for about seven months now, traveling lighter all the time, and my freakout time is probably down to about 20%. Things have gone wrong, things have not been what I expected, things have been less than I expected, and more. The trip has changed me, as I expected, but more often gives me a feeling of rediscovering something I already was, a long time ago.

Just do it. There are a million reasons not to, and I can’t come up with a million counterpoints, but you only need one. If you try, you can always come back. If you don’t try… well, xkcd said it best.

Take care.

Jess
13 years ago

So worth it to live in a rural area. I have been in the San Juan Islands for 9 years, after growing up here and leaving for 13 I came back. You will add years to your life.

Sunny
Sunny
13 years ago

Do it. Your sons are at a good age to make it happen. In a few more years, they’ll be busy with school, friends and activities. Making a jump (and I’m presuming a move) now will be much easier when they are relatively unattached to things/places/people outside of your home.

I grew up in the middle of 20 acres north of Seattle. My parents moved our family there from Everett when I was 5. We had a driveway just like the one in your photo. My sister and I ran through the woods, picked berries, rode horses, crashed bikes, caught frogs, fell out of trees and became total tomboys. Granted it was nearly 40 years ago, but we were carefree and my parents didn’t need to worry about where we were at or if we were safe. We checked in via 2-way radio or listened for my Mom and her eardrum-breaking whistle. It was a great way to grow up and, from the looks of your outdoor photos, your boys would love every moment of it too.

Go for it. Just make damn sure you have internet access.

Christine
13 years ago

Oh man, I so know what you’re going through. Only in my case it involves possible major career change, and trying to decide what it is exactly that I want to do, and whether it’s feasible and ack, sometimes I want to pull out my hair. So yes. Yes.

I’m with the posters above though. I have a feeling that whatever you end up choosing, you’ll end up happier, than if you did nothing.

Good luck!

L
L
13 years ago

One of my favourite quotes is, “Do not fear mistakes. There are none” Take the risk – you will always wonder “what if?”, if you don’t.

Two years ago we left Vancouver to live closer to family in Victoria. Now, we are packing up and moving back to Vancouver. Do I regret moving here in the first place? Absolutely not. Now i know living on an island is not for us. We tried it and we don;t hate it, but know that living on the mainland is where we want to be. So, nothing has to be forever.

Good luck!

Rachel
13 years ago

Easy for me to say, with my SAHM-hood and my home in the same ZIP code where I was born (but hey, we DID have to stop putting off buying a home, which was scary) and my husband’s 20-year dot-gov career, but sometimes you just have to jump.

Beth
13 years ago

Oh Linda I am puzactly where you are at the moment. Thinking of the gazillion what if’s and I don’t knows so I have NO answers. Posts like this make me a feel a little less alone in the process though. Like anything important & big in life it’s a leap of faith – what’s the worst thing that can happen? It doesn’t work out? You come back and start over? Think of the adventure along the way (and GREAT blog materail at least). Anyway, from one side of the world lady trying to work out the best thing for herself and her family I FEEL your pain. And if you work it out let me know okay?!

mischasone
mischasone
13 years ago

From my personal experience and that of the many people I’ve discussed this kind of thing with, the only regrets that people have as a result of “doing something/taking a risk” were in respect of the really obviously stupid decisions with very obvious outcomes (usually done while under the influence or while very young) not in respect of those decisions that could be summed up as difficult because of fear of the unknown.

Amanda
13 years ago

Word…

shygirl
shygirl
13 years ago

I gotta chime in with DO IT.

And here’s why: because when you talk about this, it sounds a lot like when you were very first beginning to talk about maybe doing a marathon. There’s a kind of raw ache in your writing, like a longing that’s just too huge to put into words. Lots of thoughts, and lots of concerns, and lots of what-ifs, but underneath it all there’s something else, something undeniable.

So don’t deny it. Let it out.

Jessica
Jessica
13 years ago

I love that you’re writing about this and we get to experience it with you. I’m so excited about where y’all are headed. It seems like you’ll do great making whatever environment your own and thriving.