Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sane or Insane?

Back in the fall, I put up an anonymous poll asking: “What do you think of Amy moving to New Mexico?” The verdict was 66% of you found my relocation “insane.” It was a bit shocking that so many of you think I’m completely cuckoo, but hey, I asked.

Now that I’ve had time to look back at this life-changing decision, I thought I’d do my own analysis of the “saneness” of a geographic 180. I’m going to try to be as objective as possible (if it is possible). I’ll also try to answer those of you who’ve asked if I’ve had any “buyer’s remorse” or shall we say “mover’s remorse.” So here goes…

Arguably insane factors:
•Moving to a place where you know no one and have no family
•Going from a city of 11 million people to a hamlet of under 2,000
•Relocating to a different state that you’ve only visited four times
•Buying a house in this new place without living there first
•Choosing a town smaller than your hometown (which felt small)
•Leaving the world's best temperate climate for true winters

Arguably sane factors:
•Doubling our living space without paying more per month
•Fulfilling the dream of home ownership where buying makes sense*
•Invigorating our personal growth with a conscious lifestyle change
•Moving to a lower cost-of-living area where we can save more money
•Following our gut instincts about what places inspire and soothe us
•Taking maximum advantage of the benefits of our flexible careers

So what I see here is that this move was equal parts sane and insane. It’s a matter of perspective. Is it insane to want to both get more and save more? Is it insane to want the opposite of what you have? Is it insane to think you can make friends anywhere…at any age? Is it insane to crave space and tranquility after once dismissing it? Is it insane to want to buy a home but not stretch financially? Is it insane to seek to change yourself? Is it insane to just leap?

It may be. And it certainly would be – at different points in time. But for me, at this age and stage, it’s also the fullest realization of being a telecommuting freelancer. I’ve traded job security for the risks and uncertainties and financial fluctuations of “going it on my own.” But I’ve also bought myself the ability to live how and where I please…and now I’m finally capitalizing on that. It’s a way of paying myself back in intangibles that makes the equation fully add up.

As for mover’s remorse, we were frustrated at being snowed in this winter…three separate times. I had “a moment” during the last major snowstorm. But that’s about it. Because I already feel at home. I’ve already made some new friends. I’ve already felt a change in myself. I’ve already gotten used to the quiet. (A car alarm in Santa Fe this weekend was like a traumatic flashback.) And I’ve already fallen in love with the simple life again – in a way I probably never could have if I hadn’t lived and breathed the excitement of the big city.

Freedom means many different things, but to me, this is it. “You are free to move about the country,” as the Southwest Airlines slogan goes. It may sound insane (and it is, partially) to pick up and move somewhere you barely know, but I’ve never felt saner.

*See the New York Times' very helpful "Buy Versus Rent Calculator" to determine where it's smart to buy...and where it's better to rent. Based on our previous rent and current mortgage, as well as assumptions of a 3% annual rent increase and a 1% annual home value appreciation, we will save $29,697 over six years by owning here, with an average savings of $4,950/year.

1 comment:

Larissa said...

Ah Morton. I dont think you are insane. I think you are an inspiration. Although, I am concerned that within a few years, you will start dressing like Stevie Nicks and talking about spiritualism. Other than that, I vote SANE.