I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I was born and raised in Austin. I’ve pretty much* lived here my entire life, and I turn 36 (!!) next week. *I say “pretty much” because I did live in Lockhart for 6 years, but that’s about 30 minutes south of Austin, and I was still in Austin all of the time. And while I have made a nice little life for myself here, I am SO over Austin. I’m just done.
There are many reasons why people love and move to Austin – the abundance of live music, the extensive hike and bike trails, the major festivals, the weather (at least before climate change screwed us), the counter culture vibe, the foodie scene. And that’s great and all, but other than some minor hiking, I don’t enjoy any of it. I hate going to concerts (too many people standing too close to me and usually some tall person blocking my view of the stage). Same thing with the big festivals. The allergies suck, and the foodie scene is insanely expensive. Plus, I’ve lived here MY ENTIRE LIFE! I’ve done these things. I’ve been to ACL and volunteered with SXSW and seen tons of movie premieres and saw Blink 182 at X-Fest in 1997 and eaten at the trendy restaurants. I’ve experienced Austin life pretty fully.
Being a semi self-aware person, I recognize that I need a change. I applied for a job with NASA in August, which would have had me move to Huntsville, Alabama. I was so excited for the change!! The cost of living is way cheaper, I could afford a bigger and nicer home, there’s some great hiking nearby, they have actual seasons. I built an entire life there waiting to hear if I was even going to get an interview. And then I got my “thanks, but no thanks” email, and my pretend life crashed. I’m not going to lie, I was heartbroken. I tried to build up excitement about my life here, but just couldn’t do it. Then, a few weeks later, I just went ahead and applied for some jobs out in Santa Barbara, California. My parents live out there, I’ve visited many times, it’s gorgeous; why not? After talking to my mom, she even agreed that I could stay with them for a few months while I find my own place. Sounds perfect, right?
I am so scared. I don’t think I have ever been this scared before in my life. I love my job here in Austin, but I’m just kinda bored with it. There’s no ability to advance, and while I am appreciated and valued, that doesn’t change my lack of enthusiasm with Austin. If I could do this job from California, I would sign up for that in a heartbeat. I also love my condo. I’ve been there almost five years, and I have truly made it into a sanctuary. Again, if I could move my condo to California, done!! It’s not living with my parents that scares me; we get along well, and I’m a pretty responsible boarder. I’m not even scared of not finding work; there seem to be plenty of jobs available which I could do and which pay the same or more than I’m making now. The thing that scares me is not being able to find my own place. Coastal California is expensive!! Sure, there are some condos about 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara that are in my (high-end) price range. But what if there’re not as great in person? What if I get out there and no one likes me? What if I give up this great job and great condo and I never find anything as good?
Okay, I just realized while I wrote that that it sounds exactly like previous things I’ve written about not wanting to break up with someone because I may never find anyone better. And that is not the way I want to live my life. Yes, this is extremely scary, and WAY beyond my comfort zone, and very unlike me to make a leap like this. But, in a way, I think I am more scared to continue to live my life the way I am now. Because I’m not really living. I don’t go out and do things. I stay at home and read and hang with my dog (which is not a bad thing at all). But I just feel suffocated being in this town. I need a change of location.