Yuma, Here We Come

Ever since we got back from our trip I’ve been in a post-vacation funk. We came back to hot, muggy weather and a weedy, buggy yard. Our basement smells moldy and the kitchen seems too dark. It’s not that I want to move to the lake, but maybe I do want to move ... if only I knew where.

Every once in a while I get bitten by the moving bug. (Last time, I decided I wanted to live in the Pottery Barn catalog.) I start obsessing over those “Best Places to Live” lists. I start filling out quality of life checklists and scanning real estate listings in other states. I Google the topic and find interesting posts like this one on The Happiest Mom blog and this one about how blogger Penelope Trunk chose to move from NYC to Madison, Wis. based solely on research.

But I always get stuck. Because my reasons for liking where I live don’t have to do with statistics or property values.

Even though I didn’t grow up in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area, I first ended up living here because I needed a job after college. I had some friends down here and thought, “Surely I can find employment in such a large metropolitan area.” Yeah, well, not if you’re trying to work in publishing. For that you might want to try NYC. But that’s another story.

Anyway, I ended up liking it -- not right away, but after awhile -- and I stayed. After several years I had a good job, friends, business contacts, ties to the community, and favorite restaurants. After several more years I had a fiancé, a house, and a writers’ group. Now I have a husband, 2 kids, and a dog. You get the picture.

But over time, my reasons for living here have changed. And lately I’ve wondered, what’s a good reason to stay somewhere? And what’s a good reason to move?

I guess you’d have to consider jobs first. Since I am a self-employed writer, and mostly a stay-at-home-mom these days, I could live anywhere. I’d lose some local work contacts, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. C. would need to find a job wherever we lived, though. He’s the one with the health insurance. But I feel like since jobs are so volatile these days, shouldn’t you pick a place you’d like to live and THEN look for a job rather than vice versa?

As Trunk points out, living near friends is a huge plus. But what happens when you have kids, and suddenly your childless friends drop off the face of the earth? (Or maybe it’s US who dropped off the face of the earth.) Or your friends WITH kids are so busy you don’t see them for months? Or you stay home but most of your friends work, or your friends’ kids go to different schools or play different sports? Suddenly, living near friends means nothing because you never SEE them!

It’s the same with cultural attractions. We live near all kinds of museums, theaters, opera and concert halls, restaurants, etc. But since we have 2 small kids and hiring a sitter for a night out costs a small fortune, we rarely take advantage of these offerings. We could live near Carnegie Hall and it wouldn’t matter, because I’d still be stuck at home listening to Pandora while my kids nap!

So I’m thinking weather is the way to go. My kids love being outside, and so do I when I’m not sweating through my shirt or being devoured by mosquitoes. So maybe I’ll pick a new place to live based on climate. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the best weather in the U.S. is in Yuma, Ariz. Look out Yuma, here we come!

SHOUT OUTS: A belated congrats to my friend C.R. and her new baby boy, Luke! And congrats to a certain expectant mom who shall remain nameless (initial-less?) until she gives me the OK. You know who you are!


Loukia said...

Great post. I don't think I knew you lived in the D.C. area - I used to live in Bethesda! Love it there, we visit often. Anyway, for me, I've always lived in the same city, not counting when I lived briefly in Bethesda. I like the city I live in now more than ever because it is great for raising a family - safe, lots to do, etc. Also, my parenst live 5 minutes from me, so does my sister and her husband, and so do my inlaws. Family is the most important thing to me, so I would not move anywhere where I couldn't see them every day! Although sometimes I do get the itch to move.. but it passes quickly. Living in a PB catalogue would be a dream, would it not? Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post!! It feels so good to know that I am not the only one with the idea of moving on my mind. My first choice would be to live near my parents, but unfortunately my spouse's job is what has trumped the decision on relocating.

Tina G. said...

Let's move to San Diego together then (breezy and 70's all year round)! I hear the foreclosures are out of this world and we can get a great deal on a home. :)
-baby to be coming soon 1.5 cm dialated!!!!!!


Nap Warden said...

I don't think I knew you were in the D.C. area either...Seems like I have been in Chicago forever. I too have been thinking about a move...just thinking;)

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