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To move closer to family or not, and how rural?

 
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I've been struggling with this for a few years, and I'm getting closer to having to decide.  I've set a goal to sell my vacant urban lot in Austin and buy land elsewhere by the summer solstice of 2021.   I should have finished my landscape design classses by then, and my new business that I started last year should be further along.

Edit to add....  I'm turning 40 next month.

I moved to Austin for polyamory and permaculture in 2009.  I found both.  I worked on a organic vegetable farm, then worked for a high end native plant landscaping company for 10 years.  I left them after they took a new employee's word over mines, after a conflict.  I started my own business similar to theirs and have done well in my first 3 fiscal quarters.  The owners of that business were like family to me though.  It was heartbreaking to go through.  Two of my closes buddies in the polyamory world weren't very supportive in that hard time because they are tenants or got business from my employer.

So, I'm less close to several of my previous closest friends in Austin, and like-minded friends are what kept me here, as well as hippie related events of various sorts.  

My immediate family moved up to northeast Texas after hurricane Katrina.  My extended family is in south Louisiana.  My brothers moved for the horse industry, as I had too back then.  My divorced parents moved up there individually to be near grandchildren and my brothers, but they love the culture too.  My dad loves the ranching and rodeo culture, and my mom loves that it's primarily protestant up there.  She's constantly meeting like-minded people.

I'm an atheistic Pagan, having deconverted from Christianity in my mid 20's.  Austin has been a wonderful place for being different and non-Christian.  There's so much diversity here, and a ton of agnostics or Atheists.

I originally wanted to buy land within 30 miles of Austin to farm.  I could have in 2009.  I had the money, and land prices were a little more reasonable, but I wanted to stay in closer to the polyamory community, and was intrigued by the idea of urban farming and using bicycles a lot.

Well, I got back into horses.  I have 3 now.  I like the idea if using horses to do some farm work.  It's been an alternative satisfying thing to rodeo for me.  I've tajen a lesson, met with the draft horse organization, and have been collecting books on it.

So, I feel better suited to living on 10 to 15 acres, as that's the upper range of what I can afford in cheaper parts of Texas.  I'm interested in a sheep or goat micro dairy setup for making artisan cheese too.

My parents are in their mid 60's now.  My dad tends to have a health issue every 4 years, my mother has lots of longevity on her side of the family and is doing great.  My dad's side has had alzheimers, so that worries me.  

My brothers will help, sure, but I feel guilty not being closer.  It's really tough because my family and I don't share political views, dearest to me being environmental issues.  Most of rural Texas is that way, but especially up there in northeast Texas.

Land is affordable up there though at 3k - 6k an acre.  I can find that in the Austin region, but 70 miles or more out.   I then feel that if I'm willing to live near people that don't share my beliefs in central Texas,  why not do that closer to my family?  Actually though, rural  central Texas is a tad more alternative or environmental, even if it's still a minority.

So, I go in circles.  Lately I look between my family and Tyler, Texas and think that would be decent for my landscaping business, and 44" of rainfall great for fruit and vegetables.

Then, 2 weeks later I'll feel drawn to an affordable town in TV he hill country called Lometa for 11 acres (31 inches of precip), or drawn to a half acre lot with an old house in Temple for an urban homestead.  I'd be close enough to Austin for hippie events at both of those spots, but the urban option isn't one for horses or dairy.  I can board 1 horse, but that's a big lifestyle change.

Northeast Texas is best for grazing (precipitation total) and being near my family.  There are several pretty lakes too, and I don't have a canoe, but will get one.  It's not the best for me socially though.  I've been reminded of UU churches and know of a Free Thinkers mertup in Tyler/Longview, so I'm planning to go check those out.

I saw a good suggestion on a YouTube vid about going spend a few days and nights in each place to feel it out in person.  That seems very wise to me.  

Any advice?  I still live on my former employer's land, but we get along by choice after disagreeing, and my horses keep his land qualified for ag use, and he collects pasture rent.

So, this is what I've struggled with for several years.  I struggled with a career decision to, as to how to transition to farming, but my landscaping business is working well for that.

 
pollinator
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Lee Du, very thorough share, thanks. If after a visit you decide Tyler might work,  then lease for a year before you buy. Its possible that a seller would do that. Then if you decide the conservative boonies are not for you, it won't be such a process to pull up stakes.
 
Lee Du
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Thanks Denise!  

I definitely end up writing too much!  

Leasing is a decent idea, to test the waters.  I'm a little concerned that doing that would eat some of my savings, but I'll consider it.

 
pollinator
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I would go live by my family.  Your parents took care of you when you were a babe and little, now it's time to return the favor.  :)
 
pollinator
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T.J. Stewart wrote:I would go live by my family.  Your parents took care of you when you were a babe and little, now it's time to return the favor.  :)



In an ideal world with ideal parents.  That may not be the case in this instance.  Regardless, it's your life to live and, if you'd be better off not near your parents, they should be happy that you're doing what's best for you.  If you don't live near them and that makes them mad, you're probably beter off living at a distance.
 
T.J. Stewart
pollinator
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Timothy Markus wrote:

T.J. Stewart wrote:I would go live by my family.  Your parents took care of you when you were a babe and little, now it's time to return the favor.  :)



In an ideal world with ideal parents.  That may not be the case in this instance.  Regardless, it's your life to live and, if you'd be better off not near your parents, they should be happy that you're doing what's best for you.  If you don't live near them and that makes them mad, you're probably beter off living at a distance.



Most people don't have ideal parents. Most people are not ideal. Most people just don't live up to the ideas of others.  I guess I figured if OP is asking if he should consider living by his family, then they must not be all that bad, even if they don't think like he does.  Obviously, OP can do whatever he wants to do, but personally, when I'm making decisions, I don't just think of myself.  I like to think of others.  Some people don't.  They just worry about themselves and that's fine too.  
 
master pollinator
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My question is:  What plans do your parents have for their old age?  If they plan on you helping to take care of them, then you need to be within commuting distance.  This has become extremely important to me since my dad got Alzheimer's.  I have become his primary caregiver.  This wasn't his plan; I think he expected to be able to live out his life with his wife, who was ten years younger, taking care of him.  But she died several years ago.  He was looking into retirement communities before the Alzheimer's, but once he was diagnosed, it became apparent that having me take care of him was the best, most affordable option, and mutually beneficial.  Fortunately we get along extremely well.  Though my home is in the country, I am able to drive into town to spend part of the week with him.

So if possible, I think you need to sit down with your folks and talk about the future.
 
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I would go by family.  One day they'll be really old and quality time will be hard to come by.  They might need someone close by down the road and that could mean you moving closer to them in the future.  I'm choosing my farm location based on my family's location.  
 
pollinator
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since you've lost your primary community, here are some things you can ask yourself:

what social/professional events are important to you?

can you sit down once a week with someone who shares your values in the new location and have an unguarded conversation?

without the primary community you lost, what would you discard that they do and what would you still keep?

is your lover coming or will you find a new one in the new location? Is there a selection of lovers there who share the basics you consider important?

there might be a reason you weren't close to your family in the first place; ponder this;

If you are not going to be your parents primary caregiver, then you must look at what you really like and what you really don't want in your life  -it really is that simple if you are the only one you're responsible for.

East Texas culture isn't Austin's. Maybe you already knew that.

good luck!
 
pollinator
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If possible, when checking places out, visit two or more times for a few days; then if there is "hope" spend a week or two. For 5 times as much invested you're likely to get 20 times more important info. When making a really big investment like you're planning, spending more choosing could be wise. Also, the visits are probably interesting and who know what you might find or learn.

Leaving off for the moment any feelings of "ought to" or guilt, do your sibs have the parent care angle more or less fully covered already?

Are there ways to actively and regularly and meaningfully contribute to your parents and sibs if you live distantly? Such as spending one weekend a month (or some other kind of "time share") visiting and taking some of the load (which doesn't sound like it would be needed for a while yet)? But if that is something you'd consider, probably sooner started the better. Regardless, of need, how does "contributing" like that sound/feel? That was just one example to "be part of" your family from a distance. There are many other ways to help provided it's ok for you. Something like this, whether across the state or around corner, creates ritual and when acceptable, mostly, to most of you, can be steadying to all.

If your family is something you want to contribute to there are many ways to do that. An accepting relationship between you helps greatly, of course. But nobody's perfect here.

You're running a business and spending significantly on certain choices. What happens to those very important activities when you make a big change? Growing a business is an honorable responsibility, especially if you're early in the game and decent success appears possible. Most people need to make a living and discarding a good long term prospect in the works needs real honest review. Before we can help others we need to be in a position from which that's possible without being completely irresponsible ourselves. Or perhaps you were forced into this position by the need to leave your previous employment and while it's going "ok", you're not finding it personally satisfactory or fulfilling. That matters too and would make the business less important to your plans. Been there.

In the end, knowing your own personal dependencies and sources of well being would be the best guide. Even if you choose to just strike toward new territory, doing so with as much understanding as possible should help.


Best luck,
Rufus
 
denise ra
pollinator
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Lee Du, By living in a place before buying land I get a much clearer idea of the pros and cons, and perhaps make friends with a few locals who are a fount of wisdom about what to watch out for. The real estate agent has her best interests at heart, not necessarily yours.  When i lived in Arkansas locals told me where not to live (meth making) and what areas had good wells vs poor. Neighbors can make or break the peace of a homestead. That said,  if you have a strong intuition and are used to following it and getting good results go for it.
 
Lee Du
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Thank you all for the replies!  

I appreciate all the suggestions.  I am leaning more towards moving closer to my family.  I think being 45 mins to an hour away would be a comfortable distrance.  That would also put me closer to Tyler and Dallas (not real close.  50 to 70 miles), for landscaping and Farmer's markets.

I did start my business out of necessity, to leave my former employer, but I've wanted to be self employed and I'm enjoying this.  It can be a little stressful, but I love the freedom, and the ability to design and problem solve in my own.  I think I can drum up business if I move, but it wouldn't happen over night.

My siblings are willing to help my parents in the future too, but they have children.  I don't.  I'm dating, but she doesn't want to move.  She has a good job and situation.

I don't think I'll have an abundance of like-minded women to date in northeast Texas.  I've looked on Okcupid already.

I'm going to spend a little more time around Mineola to see how it feels.

As for like-minded friends up there to visit with once a week?  It'll be tough, but possible.  In 2007 I had one friend that was concerned about sustainability.
 
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