“Are you happy here?” Recently a friend asked me this question when she’d come to the area for a visit. She’d noticed the changes in our little town; apartments in our neighborhood where once there’d been an open field, increased traffic on the highway and more out of town license plates than could be counted.
“Yes,” I replied. “We’ve been here a long time. I can’t imagine that we’d sell our place, relocate to a new community and start all over again. In spite of all the changes, we’re pretty happy right where we are.”
No matter where we live, none of us has the power to control the population growth or the fall and rise of the economic changes that cause people to move from one state to another. People can come to this area and either decide to settle down or move on. Though we too were once newcomers, we’ve been here long enough to know that our roots have grown deep into the soil of Idaho.
I remember the first time I traveled to Idaho from Nebraska, fresh out of high school, in my Volkswagen to a state I’d never heard about. I had no job prospects and I could not imagine my future. If I did not somehow make it, I thought I’d just return to Nebraska. But, somehow I did make it and never had to return to the flatlands.
After my husband and I married and purchased property, I remember the warnings we received from one of the old time neighbors. He informed us about the deep snow, cold winter winds and mud up to our knees in the spring. He predicted, “You’ll never make it here.” But somehow we managed to make it until we chose to sell our home and move into town.
There were no warnings from any of the neighbors about buying our property inside the city limits. No one warned us that eventually new neighborhoods with cul de sacs would develop or people with noisy dogs would move in. We never imagined the row of houses that now line the south side boundary of our lot or the park that replaced the tree farm. Although the once wide open spaces have been filled in around us, we are still happy we chose to live where we live. Frankly, I could not imagine living anywhere else.
The decisions I’ve made along the way; to move west, to experience life in the country and to remain living in a busy growing town, have been just that, choices. Though there are dozens of other places one could choose to live, I’m glad to have chosen here.
Why bother being happy with our choices? Though we cannot control the choices of those who come and go, the weather, or the rise and fall of a region’s economics, we do get to control where we decide to let our roots sink in. And I’m glad we chose to sink them here.