I don't think I have shared why I left New York City last year and moved to LA. And no one other than close friends has really asked... It is easy to say the weather and to be closer to the beach, but those things don't get to the heart of why.
I am not going to trash talk my hometown in this post. I love New York, there truly isn't anywhere else on earth like it and to be completely honest I consider very myself lucky to have been born there, gone to school there, and spent most of my twenties becoming an adult there. But just because a place is incredible, it doesn't mean it is for you. And that is why I left.
2017 was a big year for me. I turned thirty, and as that milestone crept up I naturally thought about my future. What I wanted my 30s to look like. The picture was pretty unclear. That is until March when my partner and I visited LA to escape the NYC cold. The trip was nothing special from the outside, but for us, it opened our eyes to a whole different way of living. Surf, ease, friendlier people; I learned on this trip that the stereotype I detested, that New Yorkers aren't friendly is indeed true especially when compared to southern Californians.
That vacation sold us, we decided in the next year or two we would start preparing to head out west for a taste of that easy living.
In April I tried the 100 Day Project for the first time. I choose to do 100 Days of Mindfulness to really up-the-ante on my intentional living aspirations. I had no idea how much I would grow nor how quickly in these few months. By the time I had finished the 100 days I had consumed so much information, reflected on desires and talked with my partner about our values of slow, simple and easy living so much that I didn't really feel as at home in New York anymore. Not that we couldn't live our values anywhere, it was just that the city is a hard place to slow down.
We spent the summer making the most of NYC. I think we really were trying to convince ourselves that we could make it work. Every weekend we spent on the beaches of the Rockaways or taking weekend trips upstate and out of town. And then September (my birthday month) rolled around and we took a 2 weeks vacation to Europe. This was the tipping point.
We spent a week in Spain with my partner's brother and his girlfriend/my good friend, and another week in Portugal. There is something about Europeans, particularly in these countries, that reminds me of what a good life really looks like. They remind me just because you are capable of working hard and producing a lot doesn't mean that you should. A good life is one where you can comfortably enjoy the company of the people you love and doing the things that you love. Yes, there will be work that you needs to be done that you'd prefer not to. But what if you can design your life to maximize the things that you love (good weather days on the beach, more hours at home in the evening with your partner, more creative space for your hobbies) and minimize the things you don't like (not more months of freezing temperatures, fewer hours in the office, less time fighting crowds at Trader Joes!). I don't know when exactly, but sometime on that trip we decided as soon as we got back to NYC we would start figuring out how we could move when our lease was up in December. We had no idea how but figured we try.
The next 10 weeks are when shit really went down. I hope to write a whole separate post on the logistics of how we did it. In short, it was a lot of emotional and psychological willpower and a ton of good fortune that got us here. And then once we landed we hit the ground running to find a home, set it up, get a car, and start new jobs. But we did it. We said goodbye to a life that would have been a lot of other people's dream. Two stable salaries and good jobs, a beautiful apartment overlooking the river in downtown Manhattan, calling the greatest city in the world our home... all very impressive things that made us proud and pretty happy. It was a dream, but not our dream.
So that is the real reason I left New York. The city I love so much. And I am so happy I did. So this year in honor of those amazing 100 days that helped lead me to such an eventful 2017 I will be doing another 100 day project! And who knows where I'll end up in 2019 ;)