Live where you work or where play?

When I was in my 20s, my uncle (on my mother’s side) told me that quality of life depends not only on who you work for but where you work. His advice, more like a directive, was to “live where you work.”

He grew up in Jamaica Plain and settled into the North End of Boston in 1969. My uncle owns a law firm located one mile from his waterfront condo. Regardless of rain, sleet, snow, and blazing sun, he walks to the office. Even now in his 70s. I often think about his advice while sitting in traffic. Am I really okay with a 70-minute commute to go 27 miles?

My father was the opposite. He grew up in Hingham, moved around a bit but ultimately lived in Marshfield until he died of a heart attack at 64. Dad commuted by plane. As a consultant, he spent two or three days a week in another city.  He retired from consulting at 60 and started his own business a few miles from home. He commuted two miles a day and always in his topless Jeep, regardless of rain, sleet, snow, or blazing sun he drove the Jeep to work. He was affectionately known as the crazy old man in the Jeep by everyone in Marshfield.

My dad’s advice was “live where you play.”

I tried city living. I lived in Boston and Providence but I could never get into the city groove. It sounds cliché but I missed nature and space.

So, am I really okay with the long commute? The answer is yes. My life on the South Shore outweighs the time I spend sitting in traffic. I boat on the North River, ride my bike to the beach, hike nature trails, and hang out in a back yard big enough for a barn and room for dogs to roam.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my uncle has already outlived my father by 8 years. Maybe because he walked 2 miles a day 5 days a week for 40 years…

photo taken by Malcom Johnson circa 1968

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