Fresh starts

I was looking into what other places might be better to live than here once my husband’s gone. It may sound morbid that I’m thinking so much about what I’ll do next. I assure you that I’m not wishing him gone any sooner (anything but!) but trying to plan ahead helps me cope with the very real fears I feel now.

Staying here is possible but it would be a major struggle to do it alone for long. This area is only getting more expensive in every corner of the metro. And the winter storms and the resulting widespread power outages really affected how I feel about it here. Between the independent electrical grid and the fact that Texas did not expand Medicaid during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, it just increasingly seems like this state is actively hostile to the poor.

I know it might seem ironic to try to leave Texas when I fought so hard to come back here. And to be clear, I never think that I should have stayed in Michigan, nor do I want to go back there. It has been very good to be here in terms of the opportunities it has provided for work.

But I looked up “best places to live on disability” (which I can’t believe I never thought to do before) and Oklahoma City was in the top 10. OKC is only about 3 hours from here, so the weather would be pretty much the same. (I never want to live in a place that regularly gets a lot of snow again.)

OKC is also a lot cheaper than where I am now. If I wanted to, I could actually afford to buy a small house there (though I’m still undecided about homeownership again; the only benefits I can see are that I could have as many cats as I want and that I’d have an asset the kids can use to fund it if I ever need to go into long-term care because of my neurological disease.)

Oklahoma also participates in the national power grids, did expand Medicaid access, and even legalized marijuana. I don’t use marijuana personally but I approve of it being legalized.

If my kids stay in Texas, I wouldn’t be too far to visit them. I could even keep my same doctor at UT Southwestern; quite a few people drive from Oklahoma to UTSW because it’s relatively close.

None of this is set in stone, of course. But it’s surprisingly nice to know that I wouldn’t have to move very far away to have a much better quality of life when I’m on my own.

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