20130226-4 – Where Am I?

Let’s see, pull out my smartphone, open Mapquest, enter destination, get directions – oops, Mapquest needs to know FROM WHERE! If you’re going anywhere you really need to know where you’re starting from. Given my last post, probably a good idea. So let’s take a little inventory.

OK, we live in a nice two story, three bedroom home that can easily absorb groups of 16-20 people for entertaining, with a finished basement apartment (no kitchen) on four tenths of an acre in a well maintained neighborhood of mixed ages from young families to retired folks to multigenerational households like ours. We’re in a township with low property taxes, good schools, convenient amenities and friendly people (hey, I even get to chat occasionally with my township clerk at breakfast on Tuesdays). We’re five minutes from grocery and convenience shopping and from a state university.

We’re less than a ten minute drive from a 1500 acre county park with over 20 miles of paved and maintained hiking and biking trails, lakes and a river, a large public beach, a boathouse with kayak and canoe rentals, and an open air amphitheatre. We’re just over ten minutes from shopping at one of the largest and most diverse malls in the state, surrounded by many really good chain restaurants. We’re less than fifteen minutes from a metropolitan area of over 250,000 people with a nationally recognized heart center, major hospitals, pro sports, first class arts and entertainment, fine dining, excellent shopping and a strong and growing business community. We’re less than an hour from several of the largest and highest rated freshwater beaches in North America. And we have easy access to air service anywhere in the world just half an hour away. Hmmm, sounds like a commercial for Pure Michigan™.

My wife’s mother is in assisted living just a mile from the house – we can and do see her nearly every day, and help with finances, mail and any other support she needs that isn’t provided by the facility. Our son and daughter-in-law live with us and work from home, as do I; our son is also employed part-time outside the home. My wife works full-time outside the home and is our primary source of “steady” income – she’s been the “breadwinner” of late. All four of us help with home and grounds maintenance. Our daughter and her family now live on the West Coast about four hours south of San Francisco.  My 85 year old Dad and my siblings live less than an hour and a half away. They’re all independent; but any living and lifestyle decisions we make will affect all of these people.

This all sounds pretty analytical, but I like having lists. My natural instinct is to slip into strategic planning mode so this kind of assessment is right up my alley. What’s interesting is that it’s not just “location” that’s our starting point. It’s relationships with family, friends and neighbors, along with those dreams and ideas in my previous post. In reality though, what matters most is the two of us, and next to us, our family.

In these last three posts we’ve thought about options, what we see for our future and where we’re starting from. You might want to do the same … being in the sandwich can really help you focus on your own future and lend some urgency to those thoughts and actions. I wish you well as you engage in the process. Remember, a little planning is OK, but don’t forget to live your life!

Peace my friends …

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