I had dinner last night with a former co-worker and great friend. We worked together under the tyrant I believe I called J in this post. Mrs. Pat was my mentor, part mother figure, part girlfriend, all fun. I love her. I miss her. I’m glad we’ve managed to keep in touch in the years since I’ve left there.
Mrs. Pat has one of those families that you just are instantly jealous of. She was married to the love of her life for almost 50 years before losing him to cancer a few years ago. She has two wonderful sons who are devoted to her, best friends with each other, madly in love with their own wives and model fathers to their growing families. She has wonderful relationships with her daughters in law. She positively glows when she talks about her grandchildren.
She grew up in an era when she was able to stay home with her sons while they were young. For 12 years she was there to greet them every day after school with home made cakes and cookies. Dinner was on the table every night for her husband when he came home. It was a lifestyle she grew up with. I can respect it. I can even wistfully day dream about it before I slap my palm to my forehead and snap out of it. That’s her generation not mine.
But what it all boils down to is quality of life. Mrs. Pat’s oldest son, daughter in law and two of her beloved grandchildren recently moved to Nebraska. Not, as she jokingly mentioned, to purposely break her heart, but because they couldn’t have the lifestyle they wanted out here in Silicon Valley. Her son was looking at a 2+ hour commute every day. His daughters were barely awake when he left in the morning and already asleep when he got home at night. It was a sacrifice they made so that his wife could be home with the girls and so that they could own a home with a yard. Those things don’t seem unreasonable to me. A 2 hour commute does.
I find myself arguing with myself about those things more and more lately. How long of a commute will I tolerate to own my own home? Is a garage really necessary? For me? No. For TheBoy? Abbsolutely – or we’ll be renting a storage space of some sort… One bedroom or two? Laundry or no? Condo or house? Sadly… Most things in my price range are undesirable in one way or another. Now I’m wondering which things are less undesirable than others. Would I drive a little further for my own washing machine? For a yard? For a better neighborhood?
How do you pick and chose between the factors in your quality of life?