I’m Having Second Thoughts

18 Jan

Ten years ago, the thought of being anywhere other than New York gave me slight heart palpitations, almost always followed by a nervous laugh and a “yeah right.” Then, after six years of NYC bachelorette-dom, in a miracle akin to Noah and his Ark, I was packed up, two by two and shoe by shoe, and whisked to “The North” by my now-husband, to play out a suburban fantasy that involved aprons and brownies and SUVs and book clubs.

I’ve grown to like the place I live, embracing the lifestyle and supporting the community in any way that makes sense to me. I mean, it will never be as vibrant and culturally diverse as the Lower East Side, or as boho as the Upper West (my two homes prior) but it’ll do. For now.

That was certainly how I felt until recently. Our creaky old house, having already undergone one major renovation in the year leading up to my son’s birth, is now under our scrutinizing eyes once again as we unravel the scrolled list of “to-dos” this place requires. The garage, a separate structure with an attached “caretaker’s apartment,” currently looks like something out of a Stephen King novel. Our kitchen is outdated. Our landscaping is a mess. (Did I mention there’s 1.4 acres of it to maintain?) And generally, my adoration for old houses and the “charm” that comes with them has wilted away along with any plants I’ve tried to keep alive during my time here. The word “charm” has officially been banished from my vocabulary.

Aside from my house and all it’s quirks and faults, New York is just started to really tick me off. The expense of living here is tempered by the proximity to the city, the access to a wealth of high paying jobs, and good schools. But honestly, at what cost?

I don’t necessarily know if the grass is greener anywhere else, but I’m guessing it is. I’m guessing that residents of North Carolina laugh all the way to the bank at us crazy New Yorkers who spend small, outrageous fortunes to live here. I would think that Southern Californians even, with their fairly high real estate costs, are at least saying “well at least we’ve got great weather.” What is it that’s so great about New York?

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love my friends and family dearly. I adore my neighbors. And it would be very hard to leave them. But I do not love keeping up with the Jones’ (or the Kardashians). I do not love the greed. I do not love the rat race. I do not love the frenetic pace. I do not love green eggs and ham. I do not love them, Sam I am.

Have you had second thoughts about living in New York? Where would you consider moving if you were faced with an opportunity?


8 Responses to “I’m Having Second Thoughts”

  1. sheri January 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    My son and I were just talking about this and we both agreed that we’d hate to leave a place that’s so close to NYC. He’ll be in college when Noah starts kindergarten and Mike and I fantasize about better weather (we’re old and creaky), lower taxes and a more laid-back lifestyle. So this is on our mind a lot. But I’m afraid of falling into the “grass is greener” trap and regretting the move. San Diego? Chapel Hill? Santa Fe? Where would YOU go?

    • ogradysarah January 19, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Sheri, I really don’t know. We’ve talked about Chapel Hill, or Raleigh/Durham, or Portland, Denver, San Diego, Northern California… lol. Obviously this has been a running conversation in our household! I think you’re right, there’s definitely a chance of falling into the green grass trap, but I think that there’s also a chance of finding a healthier balance – less stress, nicer weather, lower cost of living, more family friendly community… who knows. It’s all subjective, I suppose!

  2. Erin Stancill January 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Sarah, I can’t wait for you to come see us in Atlantic Beach! I know it’s so crazy, but my our new little town (a seven minute move from our old place but a whole different vibe) is starting to make me re-think my “must leave Florida in near future” plan. It’s kind of idyllic and actually pretty progressive.

    • ogradysarah January 19, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Erin – we are SO overdue for a conversation it’s maddening. I really can’t wait to hear (and see!) what this Atlantic Beach place is like! It sounds like you guys are really happy in your new home and I’m so psyched for you!

      Seriously. Should I send you a meeting request for a convo? ; ) Let’s talk soon.

  3. Love and I Do January 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I am from the city and my parents relocated up in the mountains when I was 12. Being 30 now I have been back in the city and definately enjoy escaping to the country whenever I can. Each have their perks. Glad you are appreciating life elsewhere :)…and u can always come back and walk the streets and hit up trendy places when u feel the need!!

    • ogradysarah January 19, 2012 at 10:20 am #

      Thanks for sharing, Love and I Do! You’re right – it’s nice to have the city close enough to pop in and relive my city existence for an afternoon!

  4. Ana Y. February 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    I love your post about having second thoughts on NY! I’ve had them definitely so I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY….I actually started off in Manhattan, then a stint in Brooklyn and after 10 years of living “in the city” I moved out to the suburbs as we know it, Westchester. That was my compromise with my good husband from moving down to S.Florida to be closer to my family and enjoy a slower pace, beach, weather…blah blah. Fast forward, and two toddlers in tow later, I’ve actually gone full circle…I know I’ll be back to the gotta try something new phase, but I really believe that it ISN’T better on the other side! It just means it’s time for a long visit, a “vacation” so we can come back home and feel lucky again….Yes close to city, yes good jobs, yes (close to) culture! I say all of this unless it’s Paris or somewhere glamorous 🙂 I’d jump in a second if my husband asked…


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