I've been thinking a lot about the future, where I should be, what I should be doing. I'll probably write a Discernment II kind of post next week. But it's also been on my mind this week, as my spouse and I have thought about moving to a better neighborhood now, while we can still afford it. It's been on my mind as I've been back and forth across Broward county, realizing how long I've been here.
When I went to the South campus at Broward College on Monday, I didn't think about how many people I'd see. When we first moved here, in 1998, I taught there, and through the years, I've met other people who have gotten teaching jobs there. It was like old home week coming back.
As I listened to Richard Blanco talk about the South Florida immigrant experience, I thought back to 1998, when I was first meeting Cuban-Americans. I remember feeling so inspired by learning about new corners of history I didn't know before. I remember exploring South Florida and writing rapturous e-mails that said, "I get to live here!"
Now of course, I'd be writing e-mails that would say, "Should I still be living here?"
If I'm honest, one of the reasons that I want to move to a new area is to capture that euphoria of a new place to explore. I could just go to a new place for a vacation, couldn't I?
I'm also one of those people who thinks that any number of problems will be solved by moving to a new place, as if I could leave all my current troubles behind. But it's our cultural myth here in the U.S., isn't it? Some of us have been content to settle in deep roots, while others of us are restless, always moving on, often headed west, in search of the next best place.
My spouse would be happy if we could stay here forever. And since he's happy here, we'll stay here. After all, if we moved, I'd look back on South Florida with yearning and nostalgia.
When I talk about my longing for land in the country, people often tell me that I'd miss the cultural activities available down here. They're probably right. If I lived in a rural place, how far would I have to travel for a free poetry reading?
On Monday, I could zip back and forth between the Richard Blanco events. There's something to be said for that.
When we first moved down here, I was enchanted by the historic neighborhoods, but it was fairly clear we couldn't afford one of those houses. Now, because of the housing collapse and because it's fifteen years later and we have more resources, we can. A commitment to place can make some dreams come true.
There are anxieties, of course. I'm old enough to know that every choice comes with some opportunity costs. I'm not as confident that we'll have good jobs as I once was. But I also know that we're fairly good at managing resources, even when they're scarce or strained.
So, it will be an interesting summer. Our housing market is heating back up, so it's time to make these decisions, instead of pondering and waiting for the right time.
Some of you might say, "But wait! Weren't you thinking of seminary? Didn't you have dreams of other careers? What happens to your creative life if you move to a new house?"
I go back to what Richard Blanco said, when he advised the student who was wrestling with the choice of a major. He reminded us all that we don't have to choose just one thing. He warned us away from the thinking that says, "I can only be/do this one thing."
And if I'm careful, perhaps the choices that I make this summer can lead to expanded possibilities in future years.
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