I’m happy to report that my first four days have been pleasant – my street smells like pine, and there’s been sunlight for two days in a row! I spent part of the weekend admiring creatively painted houses and buying adorable locally-sourced tiny things from stores with “supportland” cards (which was featured in comedians in cars getting coffee).
The house that I agreed to move into (after seeing 0 photos) is beautiful and green, and my roommates are great! They also have two dogs.
Kitten update – So I was requesting help on facebook to train Benny, the kitten that my roommates rescued a week ago (so nice to have cat-experienced friends, even if cats are overall weird), but unfortunately he’s been given away to a new family. The dogs were having a rough time getting along with him, so Benny’s now in a better home and I’ll be able to blog on the couch without holding a peacock feather to distract a cute but painful creature. I’m sorry he’s gone though – we had some cuddly sleepy moments together last night.
Thoughts on Moving
In the month or two leading up to this move, I’ve had a number of people comment that this move seemed like a risky and bold decision, since I have no job, no family, and no close friends here. I’m not sure if people actually believe this, or if it’s a statement originating from politeness (i.e. “that’s a bold move!” is nicer than “you’re crazy and you’re throwing away your career!”) or meant in the context of my outwardly risk-averse personality. Regardless, it’s been interesting to ponder, because this didn’t feel tremendously risky. I hope my reasons/conclusions could be helpful to other people like me considering relocations.
Money is evil, it corrupts, and it doesn’t buy happiness, or so many of us debate. But undeniably, money buys things, and having necessary things frees up mental space. So having enough money and the expectation of earning enough money is important, because when you’re warm, healthy, and full of quinoa, everything’s easier – including moving and re-buying large but inexpensive items you decided to leave behind.
It’s not completely about money, though – there are many high earners my age who don’t necessarily like their career path*, who wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving a stable career for a short-term educational program in preparation for a job that would pay significantly less (on face value at the start, anyway).
The financial feasibility of moving is clearly also a function of spending habits and dependence on having stuff. Keeping a low but sustainable standard of living lowers the risk of moving and feels great – it’s a wonderful comfort having a large gap between your baseline desires and what you could have.
For me, I’ve mostly accomplished this by living with roommates (which is also more entertaining and educational), keeping a reasonably short list of expensive items (I count ~5 items I own worth more than $300), and feeling naturally disinclined towards drinking, fine dining, and vacationing (which is slightly offset by a natural inclination towards hobbies).
Trusting People, Trusting Yourself
Having services like craigslist, airbnb, zipcar, etc. makes moving between cities so convenient, but it still requires trust – trust in other people and trust that the system will correct things if you encounter the wrong people. I’ve now found four successful room-share arrangements through craigslist, and currently I have full use of a borrowed mattress, a well-equipped kitchen, and beautiful living room furniture – just because I trust “random” people and they trust me.
Trust is also important in making new friends, i.e. believing that new friendships can be as meaningful and dependable as those from childhood. Sometimes my current friends are so good to me that I wonder how anyone outside of them could compare – but you have to trust that there are other people out there who can understand and accept you.
Ultimately, all of this relies on self-trust – belief that you can distinguish people who are trustworthy from people who aren’t. And more generally, this whole relocation is based on trust that I’ll figure out everything else too – like whether it’s weird to use an umbrella here and how to nicely tell people I don’t drink coffee.
*Aside – I’ve noticed that I often feel very defensive when people seem to assume that I hated my job in finance. I guess that’s normal since it was finance and I left, but I spent three years there because I liked it! I worked with great people, learned invaluable skills, and genuinely believed our work was more good than bad for the world.