While we were filling our stomachs with cheap and tasty food we passed the time by talking between mouthfuls about various things (incidentally I would like to take this moment to mention how wonderful it is to have actual conversations with my roommates. It's a far cry from what I had to deal before the move). I talked a bit about how much vacation time I was going to end up burning this year and how glad I was that I'd hit my five year mark with DeVry so that I had three weeks of vacation instead of just two. It really seems as if I'm going to need every minute of it this year because of everything I have on my plate. For example I am honored to be attending captain18's wedding, which will eat up a couple of days. In July I will most certainly be heading back to Minnesota for CONvergence. I had an absolute blast there last year so it's something I can't pass up this year, especially with the potential for the Zim Room to come alive. In addition to those two non-trivial trips there have been a number of vague and not-so-vague rumblings that I am expected at some time this year to go out and spend some time visiting points and aynjel. I certainly don't want to turn down that invitation because I know it would be good for me. Think about it for a second, a chance to spend lazy vacation days just lounging around, surrounded by cool people? Yes, that would be very beneficial for me.
While I was sketching out my potential and concrete travel plans it was brought to my attention that I need to be taken out East so I can get a peek at what's out there. This was something of a surprise to me -- none of us have time available this winter for skiing, so why would I need to go out East? Well, the cheetah and fennec feel that I need a promotional tour of the Eastern seaboard. At this point I was gently reminded that fennec and cheetah are hoping to move out there sometime in 2004. Not only that, they apparently want me to go with them. It seems the pair have been conspiring and they feel that if I go out there and take in the scenery I'll be sold on it and will move along with them.
I'd forgotten about that whole "moving East" thing.
On one hand, I'm really flattered that they think that much of me. How much more of an ego boost could somebody ask for?! However, on the other hand I'm sort of bummed out about the whole thing. As previously mentioned I had sort of forgotten (or maybe I'd just repressed my memory) about their plans for the future. Having them brought up again made me start thinking. At the moment as flattering as it is to be "invited" to move along I'm not really very thrilled about the whole concept. I mean, when the time comes I will be happy for Roho and Kestral because this is something they've wanted for a long time -- it clearly means a lot to them. I don't begrudge them in the least. I just don't think I want to go East.
But if I don't go East, what do I do? Let's run through some of the facts here....
- Captain is moving soon to NY
- Roho and Kestral are hoping to move sometime in the next 18 months, give or take.
- I hate Illinois. I mean, I really hate this state. I dislike most of the populace, I dislike the government, I dislike the laws, I dislike the toll roads, I dislike the lack of geography, I dislike the completely unreasonable cost of living.
- I mostly don't care about my job. It's a paycheck and little more. There is no chance for promotion, and the promotion I could get isn't one I'm interested in because I don't want to be a manager.
- The only thing keeping me in Illinois is the base of friends I have.
- Said base is slowly going to scatter over the next 18 months.
- I will be completely debt-free within the next three to four months.
- I have over $8k in liquid assets at this very moment, stored away in the credit union.
Two-thirds of my friends are planning to move. When they move, I won't have very much reason to stay here, now will I? I'd be working a job I don't really care about, living in a state I hate, for no reason other than that's where I am and the laws of inertia dictate that's where I will continue to remain for some time. For some people inertia may be reason enough to stay in a place they don't care for, but for me that's not acceptable.
Some more facts to consider:
- Minnesota is the state I grew up in.
- Minnesota has its problems but it seems to be a bastion of sanity compared to Illinois.
- My parents still have the farm.
- My father is getting ready to retire.
- My parents would give me room and board in exchange for my helping with the chores again.
So let's do the math: In four months I will be completely debt free, and the only money I will owe after that point will be due to recurring bills. I will have the cell phone bills, the various gasoline bills for the pickup, Ra's vet, medicine and food bills and last but not least my share of the rent/utilities/groceries. That puts me in a pretty good financial situation, I think. Now, let's take another step: instead of buying a house I could just sit on the money I had earmarked for the mortgage down payment and keep saving up cash. When everyone moves out of Illinois I could quit my job at DeVry and pack everything back to Minnesota. I wouldn't have to rush to find a job because I wouldn't have rent -- the sole benefit of living with the parents again -- and would have no outstanding debts that needed to be paid. The few costs I would incur (cell bill, etc) each month would be easily handled by all the cash I would have saved up by that point.
I would essentially be able to sit back and try to get a handle on my life, because there wouldn't be any huge pressing worries about jobs or debts to pay or anything. Just life on the farm, a slow methodical job search and a chance to think in relative solitude. This is a very appealing option to me, even though MN doesn't hold a lot for me -- all my friends from before have moved on, I haven't been in touch with anybody but chebutykin and passaddhi for the last three years at least -- despite that it still holds more than IL will hold for me in the coming two years.
The chance to revisit my choice in careers and maybe jump tracks is very appealing. As of late I have found myself questioning if this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I'm going to have to do some more thinking on this. The house has been such a huge motivating factor for me for so long the idea of just giving up on it frightens me. But there's no sense tying myself down to this state and this job with a mortgage payment and house if I don't really have a reason to stick around it anymore.