"I have to think of ways to keep you home," Tony sweetly jokes about my wanderlust.
An erudite friend once called me a peripatetic--had to look that one up.
It's true in part. I pine for adventure, but I love, love, being home--as long as it's not too much. As long as I'm here when the raspberries come on. Christmas is best spent at home too--though I'm open to alternatives, and as long as I'm home when it's my turn to teach.
So Tony's been thinking about life, its enjoyment, and how to keep me home. He's concocted a new theory.
While home, we aren't very adventurous. We part in the morning, meet at night, have dinner together (maybe), hang out in our respective offices, (Tony is more likely to send an email than walk down the hall and talk), maybe watch a show together, maybe once in a while go to a movie, a play, or a cultural event, maybe have dinner at his mom's, visit the grandbabes. We eat out occasionally. In essence, we have two lives: boring at home and adventurous while elsewhere. Part of his theory, I suppose, is that that is why I like to travel. We allow home to be boring, predictable....and I can't help but add, comfortable.
Already implementing his plan, he explains it over the table at a new Thai restaurant. "One of the things we really enjoy when traveling is trying new foods. Farmer's markets, restaurants, little bakeries, street food, etc. So what if we treat life more like a vacation?"
He's already investigated Yelp for unknown eating establishments, just like he does on vacation.
"Now if only we could ride our bikes here," he says.
"Or walk." Just like we do on vacation.
The suggestion comes over a cafe table in a bakery we just discovered.
But it's cold and the bakery is too far away to walk or bike to. Or is it?
If that is what we so enjoy, why not implement a different mode of transportation too?*
We can't eat like we do on vacation, because our habit is to drive everywhere when we are home. We stay fit while indulging because we depend on bikes and our own legs.
We chose this home because of its location tucked up against the mountain, accessible by two routes, each one up a steep hill. There have been a few days when I've had to park my car in a snowstorm and walk the rest of the way home. I love the location, the view, the silence, but is it time to trade for a more city centered dwelling? A condo within walking distance of a Chinese grocery, a bodega, a bakery, a cafe? A place with easy access to the varieties of life we enjoy?
This conversation couldn't have happened five years ago. This change of life, the ability to travel, to eat out, only came about because of a major life change. After years of parenting, the day to day commitment and responsibilities that we loved, seemed to just...vanish.
Life changes and the people who seem to thrive change with life.
We now have an unprecedented flexibility, lessened financial responsibility with independent children, and basically more time. How will we use it? Creating a vacation-like-life year round?
Joy from such an existence could not be sustained. That's why the indulgent vacations have worked. Each time-off period is countered with hard work and simple living at home.
We'll indulge in this new vacation lifestyle for a day or two, maybe a few weeks, but then we'll return to the simple, joyful life we've always chosen to live...and next week? Things change drastically when we take over so someone else gets a well deserved vacation. Grandma and Grandpa (us) move in to take care of the grandbabes: a two year old, a three year old, a pre-teen and a thirteen year old.
The perfect balance of joy and hard work. When we return home after a short week, our home may very well be the new vacation hotspot.
*Pedal bikes with motors?