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Dreaming of an unconventional life


A little flash back from the past!

Rob and I are in a time of waiting and thinking ahead. As much as I try to come back to the present, we have big changes coming up in the next few months, as well as the next several years, and it’s hard not to get stuck in the thoughts of the future.

We want to be smart about our plans and our actions. We want to be informed and educated about our options and take advantage of opportunities, especially when they might be unconventional to most but feel right for us.

We’re waiting for this new precious baby to arrive and we’re doing our best to prepare to care for an infant again, all while maintaining our relationship with little Pookie and helping her navigate through this big life change.

We’re thinking of the lifestyle we want to have now and in the long-term. Now that Rob is in residency, we are already being asked where we might want to “end up.” We’re receiving invitations to recruiting and employment fairs. Some of the companies want doctors so much, that they’ll give residents a stipend while in residency in exchange for their commitment to practice as little as two years in their communities. There’s a lot of tempting stuff out there!!

We’ve started the discussion of where we want to “end up” and it’s a really hard one for us. First of all, we have loved every place we’ve lived so far. We would move back to any of them, although Ohio is a bit too cold for me and Hawaii is a bit too far away. We are already enjoying being much closer to family right now.

We always thought we’d end up in Colorado or in the Northwest somewhere, but we’ve never lived in those places and have rarely visited. We love Virginia, but it too feels too far away from our immediate families.

Texas, to our surprise, is growing on us. We’re pretty liberal people, so we weren’t sure if we’d “fit in,” but so far, we’ve found that it feels like home. It’s not just Galveston either. It seems there are pockets here and there across the state that could also feel like home for us.

Over the years, we’ve found that we can find great friends regardless of whether we believe in the same things. As long as our personalities match and we have similar values, all is good. And as long as the community has some basic things we enjoy, we’re good.

In addition to the “where we will end up” question, I’ve been thinking a lot about Pookie’s education and our lifestyle. I would love for our future to include lots of travel and possibly living outside the US. Rob is more ready to settle down somewhere and I think I’ll be the one looking for and encouraging us into new adventures all the time! 😉

I’m not going to go into my thoughts and concerns about education – that would be a whole other post! I just know that I’m not sure the traditional way of doing things is what we want. I’ve considered homeschooling, but just the thought of it makes my blood pressure rise. For me, I think it would be too much responsibility. I’d like our girls to still be part of a community of sorts (which I know you can find with homeschooling in some communities), but receive an education that fits closer to my idealistic view of what’s possible in education.

I have no idea what that looks like right now, and I have about two years to figure it out. Also, it’s a priority thing. Is education for our girls high enough on the list that we will move to a community solely based on a particular school or education opportunity? Also, do we want to invest the money to possibly have them in the “perfect” school?

Then add in my desire to travel and things start to get complicated.

Can you have both a community and flexibility? A community where our kids can participate in school and clubs, develop longterm friendships, and play on sports teams, but also have worldly experiences and be challenged regularly by different people and ways of life?

I think about some of the people we met on our gap year and how they lived these completely different lives than we’ve ever seen before (even with children!). I’ve read numerous blogs about nomad families and part of me lights up with excitement. I start thinking, “Maybe Rob could do locum tenens work and we can travel all over the world!” Then I think about how that lifestyle would be for our girls – what they would get and what they would miss out on.

I also think about how that’s not really Rob’s future vision for his medical practice. He wants to have a strong presence in whatever community we land in, running a direct primary care clinic with integrative services. He wants to write in journals and make an impact in his field on a national scale.

I guess I worry that if we do the “normal” thing – like buying a house, sending our kids to the local schools, participating in all the activities, and following along with the path that’s laid out –  I’ll feel boxed in. I’ll long for something “different” with more flexibility.

I have dreams of living life the way I want to – rather than by what’s expected or what’s available. Problem is, I don’t know what that looks like yet!! I guess it’s something that I’ll continue to ponder for years to come. With all this thinking though, I also need to remind myself to trust and have faith over trying to control it all.

As I’ve often told my former students, there are no “mistakes” when it comes to choosing a path or plunging into the unknown. You commit, and it either fits or doesn’t. There may be financial or other consequences, but you always have the choice to change. You’re not stuck there forever.

I’d love to hear your thoughts for unconventional living and education, as well as any regrets from seasoned parents – things they wish they had done themselves or with their kids when they were younger. Help me open my eyes and bring my idealistic self either some hope or some reality! 🙂

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