Moving back home is always interesting. However, in our small valley, when I tell people that I just moved back, they look at me with surprise and what I take to be a little bit of pity. The reason has everything to do with my age: I just turned 26 last month.
Young people don’t tend to hang around here. Practically everyone in their twenties who lives here (a meager handful) has either come from somewhere else, fell in love with the scenery, and will soon leave, or has tried to make a life elsewhere and finds themselves returning home. I guess I’m now the latter.
Because I went away for college and had a successful career outside of the valley, most people don’t understand why I would want to move back. Maybe later in life – perhaps right around retirement, when I’m married with a few grandkids – it might make more sense to return to country life, but surely not now! I remember several freshly credentialed teachers arriving in Anderson Valley when I was in high school, and I also remember that they stayed for their promised year and promptly left. Being single and in your twenties doesn’t really do you well in a small town where it seems most young people have left for jobs or school in other, larger cities.
For me, I’m thrilled with the beginning of my new life here and the idea of our soon-to-be winery. Granted, there are a few things that I miss: Starbucks on a weekend morning, the gourmet grocer literally right down the street, a drug store that you don’t have to drive a half an hour to get to, somewhere (anywhere) to buy clothing and shoes and handbags when a little retail therapy is in need. Even though I have an entire wardrobe of office clothes, a closet full of heels, and a box full of makeup that I virtually never put on anymore, I’d still like to have the occasional excuse to put on a dress and go out for a drink. (Sigh.) And I miss all my twenty-something friends more than all of this – someone to have a drink with matters more than the act of dressing up and actually going out.
Of course there are things that I love about being back home: I’m living in the house I grew up in, which is four times larger and has three times the bathrooms of where I was living before; when I want to see my horses I can just walk out my front door; and I don’t get that shrivelly feeling of working under florescent lights and not seeing daylight for too many hours straight. When I want to go outside, I just go outside. Ah, the glories of being self-employed.
I also enjoy being around my family: my mother, Nancy; my father, Bill; and of course my fiance, Joe, who I had to move to the Central Coast to find and then drug back here. And on the weekends my two brothers often join us. It helps me to remember why I’m here and the entire point of what we’re doing. And that it’s going to be hard, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun.