Life is different in Vermont

In order to pursue my Master of Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School, I made the decision to combine households with my sweetheart.  Not only did this reduce our global footprint by an entire house, but it made financial (and other) sense as well.  For many people, this is an easy decision, however, I lived in Florida, and my sweetheart lives in Vermont.  Therefore, my decision required me to leave my sunny state and lovely friends.

In just about every way, life is different in Vermont.  For anyone who has left their home town and family to move to Florida, it means many things.  When one of your parents needs something, either a sibling or friend has to get/do it for them.  In Florida, generally speaking, there are lots of amenities very close to you… post office, school, groceries.  Your friends are nearby.  In many places, you can live without a car if you choose and take public transportation when you want.  Technology is at the forefront.  Activities abound.

And then there is Vermont.  Vermont moves at an altogether different pace.  I often say about my mother that she has absolutely no sense of urgency… about anything!  The motto here is often, “It will get done eventually.”  Even basic amenities are 2-5 miles away.  When your family needs you (which they do pretty often as they get older), you are there for them, no matter how many miles you have to drive or how many hours you have to spend.  Why?  Because they’re your family.  In Florida, I could work uninterrupted for days, but here I have errands to run for parents and kids.  And I don’t want to act like I don’t have time for them…  grumble and hurry them along…  Why?  Because they’re my family.

When I’m waiting in the hospital with my dad while he prepares for his CAT scan, do I want to deal with clients whose email isn’t working?  No, I don’t, and it gives things a lot of perspective.  Sometimes I have said that life in Vermont isn’t “real” life, but maybe life in Vermont IS the real life.  This is the important stuff… family, helping others, getting a good education.

I am and always will be a city girl in that I like to be able to walk to a coffee shop and mingle with the masses.  I like public transportation and the ability to ride my bike or walk to the post office all year ’round.  I like having all my best friends live within 5 miles of me.  I like having lots of choices of movies to see, restaurants to eat at and bars to belly up to.

But when my 82-year-old father wants to stop at the hardware store on the way home from his CAT scan, and I’ve got clients up my ass who need me to be back at my computer… I think “How many more chances will I get to have this car ride?  Do I really want him to think that I don’t have time for him?”

Being here forces a person to live more in the now.

But more about that later.  I have to go cheer on a 12-year old girl at a 7th grade girls’ soccer game.


  • My dear Elsie, I’m so happy you are so “happy” it sounds like you have found your way back home. You have a family to love and who loves you and you are wise enough to appreciate it.

  • Sarah RIchardson

    Elsie! This is very well said…sometimes the things we “have to” do, should really been looked as the “get to” stuff! Just love this 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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