I live in Northern Virginia.
One of the first things I did before moving into the area was find an elementary school for my daughter. I wasn't worried about the secondary schools, just the elementary school. And, as it happened, the school I chose happened to be near my office. I happened to find a perfect sized house nearby, and wouldn't you know it, I also found daycare and a serious ballet school. Most of these things just fell into my lap as things in my life often do.
I love this area. My daughter loves her third grade and her school. The ballet school is tough but then so is the world of ballet. If she can survive their, the teen age girls in her future will be easy to handle.
The downfall, in my mind (and it might not be for others), is that I landed in the midst of a lot of money. When I was looking for my house, I was doing it from Nebraska. My Northern Virginia experience consisted of a rough knowledge of Alexandria and a love of Old Town. Anything and everything beyond that point was unfamiliar. A zip code was just a zip code.
Now, I have no complaints about money. Money is something that is required. I do, however, believe that money doesn't buy happiness. It might buy status, but status doesn't bring happiness either.
And with lots of money also comes a focus on what one doesn't have over a gratitude for what one has. It is this, above and beyond the rest, that bothers me.
It is the woman who isn't satisfied with her reasonably sized house in her exclusive zip code because there aren't enough bathrooms or a mudroom. It is the woman who continually shops for things that aren't needed. The family that has a few dozen televisions plus a family theater... and there are just three in the family. It is the desire to shop and buy and continually fill your house and your life with things you don't need because you can rather than taking note of the things you have and being grateful.
And sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the thought pattern.
I have a small house. It isn't even a house but a condo. Every once in a while I note a house for sale - just a small house, and think... that would be nice. I would really love to have more space. I would love a garden with the opportunity to foster life from the seeds; to work the ground with my hands. I would love for the Diva to be able to dance and play and jump without bothering the people downstairs.
I am no different than the woman who has a nice house for her family of four and yet covets the house down the street because it has more bathrooms and a mudroom... and perhaps a pool.
It is an area that is changing, to be sure. There are Smart cars and discussions about saving energy, but Kat's Marin it is not! Money continues to make the world go round here, the having of stuff is of great importance - big houses with more rooms than 10 people could use, name brands on anything and everything, name dropping, high end cars, and high consumption rates.
And then there are my neighbors. Two doctors who escaped, literally, southern Europe in the 90's. At the time they were both professionals, but each had to obtain their degrees again after entering this country. Their unit is the size of mine. They have no desire to move though they have the means to do so. Where my unit has an adult and a child, they are 3 adults and a child - and a 4th adult when their son is home from college.
It is not about a lack of space but a quantity of stuff. I am perfectly content in my house. sure, the flooring needs some help and the walls need a splash of paint here and there, but I love our little home. It is perfect for the family we are. In the end, it is our home; it is where our memories are made, our lives are shared, and where love greets you at the door.