Have you all been obsessed with the data that shows where people have decided to move to in 2020 and 2021? I can’t get enough of it; I just love stories about starting fresh, I guess because I simply love the idea of starting fresh: of claiming a new you, a new career, a new path, a new home, a new city. It’s romantic to me, the thought of jumping into something new. It has to be romantic, right? Otherwise, no one would do it. We’d all stay in the places we grew up out of fear or comfort. Moving on is dreamy.
For years, at least a decade, my husband and I have chosen New Mexico as our travel location. Mostly because that land takes our breath away (literally: it’s high up there!!), and also figuratively, as the vistas, the people, the creativity, the laughter, the connection: it’s simply breathtaking. Living in DFW leaves me wanting more, and not more of what DFW provides: stuff, busyness, career growth. It leaves me wanting more space, more connection with creative people, more time to sit and reflect and look at magical landscapes.
That’s what New Mexico provides, for me.
And I’m not alone: Albuquerque is consistently voted one of the top new cities to move to, if you love the outdoors, or if you’re retired, or if you love beer. Many of the nature-filled places that were once just spots on the map have been where people are moving to since the pandemic: Tulsa, Fayetteville, AR, Idaho, even West Virginia. People want nature, they want out of the rat race, they want connection to the land.
So why did we decide to stay, right here in Fort Worth?
Well, quite frankly, when every option is available, nothing stands out. When every single city on earth could be a possibility (we have no children, and both of our jobs are fully remote), how the hell do you pick just one city? How do pick up and move in your 40s just to try out a new place? Without knowing anyone else, without a job offer, without any other connection than: you simply love it, and you want something new?
Apparently there’s a lot of people who are braver than me, although I bet many of them moved due to lack of jobs, to be near families, or because their cities are too expensive to live in.
As much as I bitch about Texas, it’s cheap to live here, it offers a lot of benefits, and I can see why so many are choosing this state: it does have a lot of opportunity. A lot of beauty? Aside from the architecture? Not really, not here in North Texas at least. But opportunity, yes.
And when I think of my favorite state, and I think of the drastic drought hitting our country, the wildfires, and the notices all over NM about saving water, I get a bit freaked. Are my favorite lands going to be inhabitable in 100 years? In even 20 years? Is it going to be so damn dry that there’s no way to grow veggies? I don’t know. But it’s worth considering, when the cost of moving, and finding a new place, and then getting comfortable in a new place is so… risky. Romantic, yes… and risky.
My husband and I read an article a few months back about the costs of selling your home and moving to your favorite place: the cost being that your favorite place no longer is your favorite place, because it becomes the norm. Your favorite view becomes the view you see daily; possibly no longer being special or remotely unique.
I remember that about living in Nashville. I got so used to the beauty of that city, when a friend came to visit a few years in, looked at the rolling hills, and said, wow, you get to look at that every day. And I was like, huh, yeah, you’re right, completely forgetting how much that city took my own breath away when I first visited so many years before.
We get used to the beauty around us. Maybe I wouldn’t in New Mexico. I mean, my own backyard sunrise takes my breath away every morning, although admittedly, I watch it less and less each morning.
So why did we decide to stay? As unromantic and unjoyful as it sounds: we’re here because we simply don’t know where to go. Starting new without knowing a soul sounds hard in our 40s, much more difficult than either of us could deal with right now, after the pain that we all went through during the pandemic, and before, and the busyness of our jobs, and the busyness of life.
My favorite lands, for now at least, are going to stay my favorite lands. Thankfully, they’re close to us here in Texas, just a day’s drive away. They’re easy to get around, affordable to visit, and we love every second of being there: it feels like we’re completely out of our element, in a magical, lovely place. We’d like to keep that feeling, for now.
Tell me: did you move? Where and why? How’s it going? And if you didn’t move, why not? Why did you decide to stay?
Love (from Texas), Jen