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July 11, 2014 - Carrie Olson
How do you know when you’ve made the right decision? Really, how do you know? I’ve never been one of those people blessed with the intuition of knowing that they are going down the “right path”. Instead, I must rely on the affirmation of others, detailed plus/minus lists and a bit of wishful thinking.
We very recently decided to move back to the Midwest after living in the NYC area for two years. It wasn’t an easy decision, and we mulled it over for quite awhile. Finally, it came to the point of, should we pay another month of crazy rent or save a bit by heading back home? We could have comfortably stayed in our basement apartment, made ends meet, and budgeted accordingly - but it wouldn't have been easy. Instead, we decided to pack our belongings in a U-Haul for a somewhat expensive trip across country, to land back in the middle of Iowa with a storage unit and another “basement apartment” (thanks Mom and Dad!).
And as we save money and work part-time gigs while applying to job after job, I still wonder. I had a good editing job in Battery Park, we had made good friends in our area, and enjoyed exploring the city where we lived. There was always something going on and Jersey City was a great place to escape the hustle and bustle. We could take the train to outlying areas, and my husband could go to an assortment of free readings nightly, something he craved.
But there were definite plusses with leaving, too. The prospect of saving, getting a bigger place to live for less money, finding full-time positions in our fields, and seeing family and friends in the Midwest on a more regular basis. The quiet has been a welcome change, but something to get used to. The amount of green space is overwhelmingly beautiful. And I’ve reconnected with my two-year-old niece, and it’s wonderful to hear her running to the door to greet me with, “Hi, Callie! (she’s still working on her “r’s”).
The constant driving back and forth, and the need of a vehicle, is something that we aren’t accustomed to anymore. Although it is easy to rely on a car, I’ve been trying to instill my NYC walking in my Iowa life. I have been used to walking up to 5 miles daily, so my weight has definitely been on the climb since moving back.
It’s not that living in one area of the country is better than the other, it’s just so different. My heart belongs in both places, and I don’t know where we will end up in the future. Maybe we will stay in our hometown, or perhaps the quietness will be too much, and we will move back to NYC or another metropolis.
As we question the possibilities while saving our every penny, I at least know one thing: I’m glad to have a person by my side. Although we are still wading through uncertain waters of “Where should we go?” and “Will we make the right decision?”, I know that it’s going to be okay because I’m not going at it alone. So I guess (well, I sort of know) that it’s all going to work out.
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