Urban/Rural

I am in many ways an urban girl at heart. I love the culture and diversity of the city. I love having easy access to galleries, festivals, museums, and interesting people from every background imaginable. I find it exciting to be able to take classes and workshops on just about any topic I can imagine. I like being able to walk or ride my bike to all kinds of interesting shops, bakeries and restaurants.Husband and I are foodies and the city offers no shortage of opportunities to sample diverse cuisines, and buy exotic ingredients to cook with.

My ideal social group is made up of creative, diverse, worldly, and educated people. The type of people who are always up for trying new things, being spontaneous, taking interesting classes, hosting amazing dinner parties, and traveling to exotic places. These types of people would be easy to find in the big city, which is brimming with interesting young professionals and diverse social networks.

But the city also comes with crowds, noise, pollution, a high cost of living, crime, traffic, and a whole whack of other things I really can’t stand. When it comes down to it, these factors make it a no-brainer for me to live in the country, where I can have space, fresh air, and peace and quiet.

From a social perspective, I long for the city, but from a health and wellness perspective, I long for the country.

And that disconnect is really hard to reconcile.

I mourn the fact that living in the country may prevent me from ever having the type of social life I always imagined I’d have. My visions of a future surrounded by a social network of people from all over the world, with fascinating careers and a multitude of talents, who can discuss world events and culture, who’ve traveled and seen and done exciting things, who are creative and think outside the box and love to try new things and go on adventures – are increasingly unrealistic when I look at the realities of living in a small town.

My cohorts here are friendly, but the majority of my peer group here has never traveled outside of this province, let alone outside of the country. The majority have no higher education, and while that alone isn’t really a problem, they also have no real interest in the broader world around them or a thirst for knowledge. Most of them have interests limited to hunting, shopping, television, pickup trucks, and going to the local pub. I don’t intend for this to sound snobbish, there’s nothing wrong with those interests, but it’s not the social life I want, and certainly not the life I imagined for myself.

So I guess I’m stuck. Longing for a reality that is frankly, unrealistic. I really want the best of both worlds, a rambling house in the country with lots of space, mature trees, a big garden, and quiet tranquility, within a short cycling commute of a hip urban community full of fascinating people and exciting social opportunities. And as I’m pretty sure that doesn’t exist, I’m left contemplating which of those lifestyle factors matters more to me.

I really don’t know.

Five Year Plan: 2013

Before Husband and I got married, we sat down and mapped out our five year plan. For each year, (2013-2017) we thought about what goals we hope to accomplish in that year in the areas of money, home, family, education, health, career, travel, and personal. We of course recognize that a lot can change in five years, so the goals have some flexibility, but it’s still nice to have them in writing, as it helps keep us accountable.

Here’s what we hope to accomplish in 2013:

Money

We’re both in school this year and have a very low income as a result. Our primary financial goals for 2013 include living frugally, limiting the amount of new student debt we accumulate as much as possible, and securing some bursaries and scholarships to help cover our education costs. We also plan to invest any windfalls (tax returns, etc) into our house fund.

Home

We have no plans to leave our current apartment this year. It suits our current needs well, and is extremely affordable, which helps us save money. Our other home goal for 2013 was to reclaim our spare room as usable space, but we actually already did that. One goal already accomplished!

Family

We added two new family members in 2012 (our two adorable kittens!) and we have no plans for further family expansion in 2013.

Education

I plan to graduate from my post-graduate program in April, and Husband plans to graduate from his in August. So far, we’re on track!

Health

Husband got super fit this summer working a manual labour job, and one of his health goals is to maintain that fitness level. My health goals include continuing to gradually and sustainably lose weight (about 20 lbs to go) so that I’m at my ideal weight when the time comes to start a family. I also want to get back on track with drinking lots of water (starting with a glass first thing every morning) and with eating a piece of fruit or a handful of veggies before every meal.

Career

I plan to continue working at my current job for one final season. I will be doing a work placement with a local university as part of my education this semester, and I’m crossing my fingers that that may pan out into a job in the fall. Husband is hoping to secure a paid internship at the end of his program that could also hopefully turn into a longer-term job.

Travel

Nothing too exotic this year, unfortunately. We will likely have a few road trips (mostly to Husband’s home town) but that’s about it.

Personal

I didn’t set any additional personal goals above and beyond what was covered above. Husband wants to continue to brew beer and learn more about it.

So that’s that. Nothing too groundbreaking or life-altering, but some good concrete steps towards our long-term goals.