Yes, it does seem that life runs in circles. Each time we return to the starting point, either it, or we, have changed.
Rocket and I have been talking again about our plans for the future. We're trying to set time frames, goals, and markers. There are some nice things about where we live in southern California (long growing season, no snow to shovel, proximity to the ocean and beaches), but also many disadvantages (no snow to ski or play in, no seasonal changes in the landscape, too much traffic and noise and pollution).
I'll be teaching adjunct at Lemon University starting this fall. I've been given to know that likely the adjunct post will convert to tenure-track in a couple years (2? 3?), for which, if I'd been teaching during the interim, I'd be a prime candidate to be hired.
Rocket is somewhat content with her work at Rocket Central, though it's a good hour's drive (or more) from Lemon. Somewhat content because there are little niggling things that restrain her enthusiasm. While Rocket Central appears to be a zenith for workers in her field, it so far lacks the camaraderie she has most enjoyed elsewhere. It's big, and scattered. And, it's here in the land of overpriced, undersized housing.
Even if I come to love teaching at Lemon, even were I eventually offered a tenure-track post there, I'm not sure here is where I'd like to be in three years. For one, we'd like to buy a house again, once we're in a market (geographically or historically) that is not so overpriced (and once we can reasonably commit to remaining somewhere for at least 3-5 years).
Assuming I have a decent beginning asst. prof. salary from Lemon, and Rocket continues at her job, we'd still be pouring a massive percentage of our income into a house, one which would afford us assumedly 30-45 minutes commute in either direction (if we buy in the middle). And, that dream would have to wait until I began pulling in said salary (rather than the adjunct income I'll be getting soon.)
We're making contingencies. A while back we were saying 1-2 years would be the point when we'd either leave these parts, or have a good reason for staying. I've seen too many times people who've gotten themselves stuck in life, held fast to a place or a position. Not going to let that happen to us. If we stay here, it will be because we've decided this is our best option, not because we failed to consider alternatives.
We're now talking that this time next year would be a good time for us to be ready to jump should the opportunities arise. I expect to apply for some faculty posts. There's always the chance that one of those will be offered me, that we will decide it's a great chance to take, and head into a new adventure. I'm not holding my breath. One thing that makes this job season different from the past, is that now I'm building a different career as well. I'm doing my research, and prepping to appeal for funding (either venture capital or bank loans) to hire some people on to help me get "to product".
If all goes well, this time next year, I'll have myself a decent salary in my own firm (as much or more than I'd make as a jr. prof.). So, we're back to that question of where we (as a family) want to be. The good thing about being an entrepreneur, is that I remain fairly mobile. Rocket has other possibilities for work outside Rocket Central. One option we've put on the table is returning to Mountain City where we've lived before. There's work for her there, we've friends there, the climate is pleasant, there's snow (no ocean, though).
Next step, we'll be investigating other great places to live. Any bids?