Looking Forward

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Coming to a joint-decision, compromise or creating consensus in a marriage can be a challenge and when it’s done skillfully with love and patience, its incredibly rewarding. For years my husband Philip has been living in fear that he will eventually be coerced into moving from our home in Saratoga Springs to my hometown, Glens Falls. For some people, a move 15 miles away may not seem like a big deal, but this is not the case with us. You see, my husband’s quality of life is directly proportionate to the distance of his employer to his home and we live less than a mile from his office in Saratoga. Riding his bike or walking through our neighborhood park is an activity that he looks forward to daily. Being able to come home for lunch, give the dog a walk or just pop in to pick up a forgotten item is a convenience that most people do not have, and he greatly appreciates it.

Although I empathize and understand the value of proximity to work, there still exists a bit of tension over my wish to head north to my hometown and Philip’s desire to stay put. Over the course of our marriage, one of his favorite (and slightly cynical) declarations has become, “I know, I know, everything is better in Glens Falls.”

An indisputable prospective that we share is that living in Saratoga has been a great financial investment and a wonderful place to raise our boys. We love our neighbors and the historic Eastside of the city. The real estate has proven to be a sound place to put our money, and now that are kids are grown up, we are able to rent our house during race track season to make additional income. Although I assure Philip that I agree we are doing the sensible thing by living in Saratoga, there are certain times when my mind could be changed, and I could pick up and move back to my hometown. 

With all of the positive attributes that living in Saratoga has to offer, what could possibly drive my desire to move back to my hometown? On the surface, I have been restless, experiencing a need for a change of scenery. I also believe there is potential for financial investment coupled with an undeniable fondness in my heart whenever I am in Glens Falls. Walking through the old neighborhoods and around downtown, my mind wanders back to what once was and to where this town could be going with a little more attention and investment. What comes up from the depths of my being is a sense of creativity and excitement and the desire to be on the cutting edge of something great— a place that is coming back to life after some rough years— and a chance to make a difference.

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One of my favorite places, The Crandall Library

Recognizing that our points of view are equally important and relevant to our happiness as individuals and a couple, Philip and I have spent countless hours daydreaming; inventing and reinventing scenarios in which we could both feel our needs are being met. Driving in the car or sitting at the breakfast table we volley ideas back and forth. We scan houses over and over again on Zillow testing the waters and our feelings about moving. I’ve come to realize that Philip may be somewhat moveable on this idea if it makes “good financial sense.”

We explore the idea of buying a second home (perhaps a duplex) in Glens Falls so we can rent the Saratoga house more often and vacate to Glens Falls. We crunch the numbers to see if it makes sense financially. Can we accurately speculate how much income can we make renting the Saratoga house in the off season? What are the taxes like in Glens Falls? Do we really want to be land lords? We start to form thoughts about our comfort level in taking on more risk and living with what we do and do not know.

This is a familiar process that the two of us create and move through. We have practiced it many times in our marriage, and I am always grateful for the compatibility that Philip and I share when taking on risk in both investments and employment opportunities. I can trust that he is not going to make a case for a rash decision and that we will take the time to talk a it through over and over again. I also know that we have a similar pace in making decisions, and that when we do hit on something that “adds up” and feels right, we have the confidence to go for it.

Happily, after months (maybe years) of considering life in Glens Falls, we have landed on a plan that is the perfect amalgamation of both our ideas and what we feel we need to sustain us economically, creativity and spiritually. It’s the perfect balance of generating income, being in new surroundings and not taking on too much risk until we have a clearer picture. The process which involves moving to Glens Falls has been no different than any other decision that we have made together. When, jointly, we hit on the right scenario, we both knew it.

So, here’s what we came up with. We move to Glens Falls for one year. We rent, not buy, a small place to live, and we post a listing for our home on AirBNB to see just how much cash we can roll in to our bank account. Knowing that we have our August track rental secured for 2015 allows us to tip toe into the next phase of living in Glens Falls, for the short term. The decisions about long term can come later, when we know more.

Our co-created adventure in Glens Falls is proving to be a lot of fun, and this is very important. I never want to feel stagnant or afraid to make change. In the end, however, the process with which we move forward is considerably more valuable to me than the direction in which we go.

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Home sweet home, Glens Falls style

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