A Change of Scenery, by Bronwen Chisholm

A Change of Scenery, by Bronwen Chisholm

My husband and I are about to become empty nesters. Our youngest is chomping at the bit for her senior year to end so she can move on with her life and begin studying what she wants to learn instead of what the school tells her she must know. Our lives are about to change or shift. During the preparation for this, we have discussed the need to remain where we are. Our son has relocated to Atlanta and now our daughter will be in Nashville. Both are nine or more hours away, though only 3 hours from each other. Being originally from Pennsylvania, and having lived in our current home for over 25 years, I prefer to remain where we are. (I’m one of those “all my life” kinda people. My parents moved into the house I grew up in 3 years before I was born, and we sold it after they both passed 6 years ago.)

This got me thinking about change and choice. My husband and I are discussing if and where we will go, making plans, and weighing the different options together. In days past, decisions were made, and women went. Not saying the wise men did not consult their wives, but it wasn’t required or expected. This led to thinking of our dear Jane. As we see in Sense and Sensibility, she understood what it was to suddenly be uprooted. The Dashwood ladies were at the mercy of family if they wanted to remain in the house they knew as home. Of course, if they had it would not have been like the home they knew. They had the choice to leave, but their prospects were limited.

Steventon Manor in the Spring


Jane Austen was born and raised in Steventon, but her father rather suddenly decided to retire and relocate to Bath when she was approximately 25 years old. Five years later, following her father’s death, the Austen ladies entered a time of uncertainty. In the next four years, they moved repeatedly between rented quarters and spending time with family. Finally, in her early thirties, Jane, Cassandra, and their mother took up residence in Chawton at the beneficence of her brother, Edward. Here she remained until shortly before her death.

Following Jane Austen’s writings, we see how each of the locations she lived or visited inspired her muse. For a lady of limited means, she is able to show us country settings, the Peak District, Bath, the coast, and London. I can’t imagine living in such uncertainty for so long, but the stories she left behind transport us to those locations, giving us a glimpse of life at that time.

So, we are still undecided of where we will end up, but we continue exploring the possibilities. I hope, should we decide to move, that I am able to follow in Austen’s footsteps and draw inspiration from my surroundings as she did.

Have you moved about or do you prefer to stay securely settled in one place?

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19 Responses to A Change of Scenery, by Bronwen Chisholm

  1. I grew up in the UK & have moved countries 4 times & states 3 times.
    We have friends all over the place!
    The experiences we have had have helped my kids to become confident, independent adults.
    Still wish we all lived closer though.
    My husband & I retired to TN just over a year ago.

  2. Best of luck making your decision. I didn’t want to leave where I grew up but ended up living about 4 hours away due to work opportunities. I am definitely the type of person that prefers the familiarity of living in the same place.

    • Maybe it is a generational thing. My kids couldn’t wait to leave home and have no intention of returning, even though they both admit it is a good place to raise kids. My mom expected me to return home because she never left the area.

  3. There was a five-year period where my husband and I moved 11 times (including four state changes and the others were within the city we lived in). We’ve been in our current home for nearly twenty years now. We speak of moving when my husband retires but, for now, that is daydreaming what-ifs.

  4. I would have preferred to stay in one happy place forever, I’ve moved too many times I care to remember between Canada, the US and back again. I’m finally old enough to be settled in my last home before they put me in a nursing home or the dirt—whichever comes first. ?

    • I remember in college, we enjoyed moving into new dorms each year. It was a chance to change up the way we had decorated the previous year. I guess I just have too much stuff now and I’m not moving into one room for just a few months. 😀 Moving across national borders, more than once, could become a bit much. Be safe and well.

  5. I prefer to stay put. I think I love to be in a familiar (comfortable) environment. You know the people and the places around you. (Also moving for me is a lot of packing and unpacking. Not fond of that.

    • I’m with you. In truth, I am a creature of habit, so the familiar/comfortable is my preference. I love to travel, but am equally as pleased to return home. (After 25 years in one place, I don’t even want to think about packing all this junk up.) 😉

  6. I grew up in Wisconsin and lived there until my husband joined the military. We moved 8 times in his 20 year career. I loved it! After he retired we lived in Northern Virginia for 11 years. I loved it there! 2 years ago he really retired and we moved to Florida. I love it here! I’m a firm believer in “bloom where you’re planted”. 🙂

    • Yes! I tell my kids that all the time.
      My husband keeps pushing for retiring to Florida, but I tell him I’ll visit him. The farther south you go, the bigger the bugs get. lol 😉

  7. I’ll be giving my age away if I mention too much information, so I’ll just talk about the last house. I thought I would stay there until the inevitable, but then my daughter said “You’re moving to Illinois.” I said, “No, I’m not.” On second thought, I realized that of my family, she was the most interested in my welfare, and we had been separated by three or more states for over thirty years. So after living in my last house for forty years, I moved from Texas to Illinois – a much colder climate than Texas (except for this year when Texas got slammed.) My daughter’s comment, “I’m so glad you are not in Texas.” I agreed. Moving is a serious business, particularly if to another state. I’m satisfied with being in Illinois, and I hope you will be happy with whatever decision you and your husband make. 🙂

    • Good choice. Our kids are destined for very mobile careers, so we would probably only be close to them for 4 years max. Although my daughter may end up in NYC. Being a yankee, I have no problems going north. 🙂

  8. My life seems to be in groups of 20-years. I was in my 20s when I married and left the home we had lived in since the 4th grade. Hubby’s job moved us from the house we built and lived in for 21 years to Kansas. After a few years, the economy tanked the company downsized and we came back here. We have been in this location… again 20-plus years. In keeping with the program… I look forward to the next 20-plus years. LOL! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good luck to your youngest in springboarding into her future. I also wish you and your husband the best as you become empty-nesters. Bless your heart. That is the sign of good parents when their kids embrace the future and launch successfully. No boomerang kids for you. I know, that wasn’t funny. Stay safe and healthy.

    • That’s funny. I went through a 2 year phase for a while: 2 years college, 2 years in retail, 2 years in North Carolina, 2 years back in Pennsylvania in banking. When I moved to Virginia, my mom said, “You’ll be back in 2 years.” That was in 1994. lol
      Our kids are determined individuals. They get their dreaming from me and their drive from my husband, thank goodness.
      Take care and be well.

  9. I moved a lot as a child (when I was eight, we lived in three different countries on three continents), and then I did the grand tour of Canadian universities before I met my husband and moved to Toronto. Right now I’m happy to stay where I am, but as you said, the kids have their ideas and depending on where they end up, we might follow.

    • My husband was in the military when we met, but got out shortly after. I’m torn between the stability of having one home and the experience of moving about. There are pros znd cons to both, as is always the case. 😉

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