jebatty - what time is dinner normally served at your place ? SolarandWood - "compromise" is probably a better word than settle. As jebatty said, I would like to have my cake and eat it too - low cost of living, some convenience, and a good job. Had to find the compromise between proximity, convenience, space, and cost. Very complex equation. We're are located ridiculously close to all manner of ammenities - could easily ride a bike if it were not for traffic-related safety concerns. Most of these I could care less about with the exception of medical facilities, food stores, and places like Lowes/HD. The thought of living out and driving an hour for these services seems crazy and while I'm certainly not counting my carbon credits all of the time it seems to me we're being better stewards by participating in a very local economy and not driving those extended distances. The only way I feel like I've truly settled is in regards to the regulations imposed by my township. While it's a historic farming community, I'm technically supposed to have over 2.5 acres to have any "non-pet" animals. I want chickens, laying hens to be more precise. No rooster. Just hens. Technically, even though we have almost 2 acres, which is more than enough space, I'm not supposed to have them. Seems ridiculous to me and I plan on pushing the limits of "pet" next spring ... I'm hoping if I give my neighbors some eggs nobody will care. Bees might come later if I can get away with chickens. One thing that my situation has taught me is to carefully consider geographic flexibility when picking a line of work. I gave no thought to this at all. I will strongly encourage my sons to take this into account so that they can create options for themselves. I basically need to be near a large industrial base and am in a somewhat specialized field. I'm geographically restricted. Had I chosen to be a CPA or pharmacist I could get a decent job nearly anywhere. Then I might have the option of living in a smaller town and having a decent job - remember, death and taxes are certainties and people everywhere have to deal with them!