April 17, 2007

Purple Haze

It has been a while since I have reported on my progress as a married childfree refugee living in surburbia. We've been here for six months now.

We returned to a suburb of the greater San Francisco Bay Area -- the East Bay to be specific. My husband was raised here. Four generations of his family were raised here. We were married here nine years ago, so it's very much a "family thing" as one woman friend of mine so aptly put it. Suburbs have always been described as "a nice place to raise kids". Not exactly what we are doing as a family of two.

So I thought long and hard before I agreed to stay here, to buy a house here, and become a part of this community. It wasn't just any house. It's the house my husband grew up in. It's the site of our engagement party, the place his youngest sister held her wedding reception, where many, many 4th of July BBQs occured. We look forward to many more such gatherings here.

I had to ask myself the obvious:

Question: Is it a good place for childfree adults to live?

Answer: It depends on who you are and what you're interested in.

Is it a good place to be single and looking? Probably not, however, it is still a great place to raise kids. Our neighbors who are raising a 13-year-old, invited me to a fundraiser for the local boy scouts: the first annual Womens' Sports Shooting event. I am still a dead-eye with a rifle. The proof hangs proudly on our refrigerator.
What a hoot for only $20 in exchange for a full day of entertainment in a not-so-far-off wild California!

Our town is undergoing a bit of a cultural renaissance. The arts are mightily supported here. Even the small hobby airport is in the middle of a search for an airline to serve the citizens. Our town is among the top five participating cities in the annual Backyard Bird Count. Tourism is building momentum with the mostly undiscovered wine country setting as a backdrop. Thinking of doing Napa or Sonoma? Try appellation Livermore. You'll be in for a nice surprise.

When I make a decision, I go for it hook, line, and sinker.
At first, I was afraid I would lose my identity out here in "the burbs", lost in a suburban fog of casual dress and discount shopping. I thought perhaps I needed a big city and bright lights to keep me on track, and stimulated. Instead, I am discovering a new side of myself. San Francisco is close enough to enjoy on a regular basis. For the first time, I have some "dirt to dig in" and we have chickens on this small hobby farm. You just can't beat fresh eggs. One of my neighbors has offered to buy my extras! Who knows what else love will grow out here.

I am a Purple WomanTM, which means I do not have my own kids; however, I am very drawn to other people's children, especially my nieces and nephews. My husband and I actively seek other adults, who don't have kids, to socialize with. Children are such a rarity in my life, I really enjoy them, wonder at their innocence, their interests, when they are around. We are fortunate that many of our friends have older children who are more independent, which means they now have more time for us. It's nice to finally be in that place. I feel like I can give it a rest now and just live my life. Be myself. I am no longer seeking. I am standing still, and we do not plan to move for a long, long time.

Flickr photo
by sweetpea515

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M said...

Glad you're in a good place, geographically and emotionally. I've enjoyed Livermore the few times I've been there. I LOVE the Wente winery for its beautiful grounds and views and wonderful food. And there is an amazing park/hike I love to go on up in the hills there. I'm sure there's much more to explore out there too, hopefully I'll have the time for some more someday. Having a home in the Bay Area is really a great gift that many can't manage to make a reality for themselves. You are blessed to have it and I'm glad you are making it work for you. I love this part of the country so much! Hope to keep hearing of your finding ways to make your setting suit your needs as time goes on--it's great to hear.

jenmoon said...

I'm originally from Livermore, so I pay attention when you post. It sounds like it's improved a lot since I lived there (though as a single CF'er, I sure don't plan on moving back if I can help it).

Teri said...

M - Hiking is another thing we like about this place, and I cannnot wait to get out on Lake Del Valle in a kyak!

JenMoon - Well, what do you know? It took the Internet to connect the dots between us! Since I moved to a small town (78,000 is no Toronto), I have been concerned with blogging about my locality. I took my personal blog underground, for registered friends and family only. Not as much fun. It's exciting to see you lands on your "doorstep" when you publish globally!

I also have held off on such locality-focused, personal posts as I don't want this to be a local SF Bay Area blog. I want all different walks of childfree life represented here. In the end, all you can write about is your own experience though.