I often think of that old saying, “if you can’t change your location, change your hair color.” I can’t remember where I first heard it – probably in a fashion magazine growing up – but in 2015 I knew that my yearning for change could not be satisfied with new tresses. I was stalled in my career, MPR was forced to work two jobs, and we just couldn’t see how we would get ahead if we stayed in New York. So that’s why we made the bold decision to not renew our lease, and just four and a half months after our wedding we packed up all of our stuff and moved down to Charlotte, NC.
July 4th was the official one year anniversary of our move, but mid-August feels more accurate since that’s when we both started our new jobs. So one year in, here’s how the scary decision to pick up and move changed both of our lives – for the better.
- I’m actually using my Master’s degree
Instead of begrudgingly paying my student loans each month, wondering if I’ll ever use that Master’s degree I worked so hard for, I now have a job in PR. Before we moved I worked in a small advertising agency where I learned a great base, but quickly realized that I hit my ceiling. I wanted to do true PR for clients, and that was never going to happen for me if I stayed there. Now I’m working on the PR team of a marketing/advertising/PR agency with much bigger clients. It was a huge step up for me.
- MPR and I are on the same schedule for the first time
Throughout high school, college, and post-college, MPR always worked at a restaurant. This meant that he never really had evenings, weekends, or summers. During our engagement, he would sub at schools all day, and then go right to the restaurant for a dinner shift. He was killing himself, and it wasn’t fair. It made more sense to move to where the teaching jobs are, and so we did. Within two weeks he had a job offer and his time in the restaurant business was officially over. And now we get to spend our evenings and weekends together. ❤️
- We seriously upgraded our apartment
I’ll admit, I loved the location of our apartment in Troy, NY, but our new apartment in Charlotte is such an upgrade. Instead of drafty windows and a kitchen straight out of the 80s, we now have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, central air, and a beautiful pool. I was even excited to have overhead lighting. In Troy we had to rely solely on lamps, which is more annoying than you’d think. I’ll admit our rent is double what it was before, but we’re in walking distance to uptown Charlotte (and my job). But perhaps most importantly, when we’re done renting, houses are much more affordable here.
- Nothing but blue skies
Unless you’re from the northeast, you have no idea how nice it is to have blue skies year-round. In New York it was drab and gray from November to April, and it had a definite effect on my mood. The sunshine here is contagious. Even the people are brighter and friendlier. The milder weather also makes it possible to take Rufio for long walks through the winter and have the option to go out and do things after work. In New York I would hibernate after 5:00 PM until Spring.
- Everything is at our fingertips
I love living in a bigger market. For one, every concert tour we want to see stops here (they rarely did in Albany). It’s also really exciting to have an NFL team here. I was never a football fan before we moved, but now I have so much fun rooting for our team. Lastly, this could be just because Albany is a small market, but we have every store you could think of, from Origins to Anthropologie to Lilly Pulitzer. I was even pumped to go to an Ikea for the first time. Another plus? Grocery stores and Target carry wine! 🍷
Are you thinking about making a move? Here are some tips to make it as smooth as possible:
- Scope out the area before signing a lease. We originally were looking at apartments that were much cheaper, but once we checked them out we realized they were out in the ‘burbs, and we wanted to be in close proximity to uptown.
- Rent, don’t buy. Similar to the above, rent for at least one year before buying. It takes time to get to know a new area. Plus, it takes the pressure off. If you don’t like your new city after one year, you can just move again!
- Purge your stuff before the move. Only bring what you really need and don’t waste money transporting “college” furniture. You can go to Ikea and buy new for much cheaper (and chicer).
- Try to secure a job before you move. MPR and I both moved with temporary jobs, but not secure, full-time jobs. But honestly, we did a lot of research on the job market and were confident we’d both be able to get jobs quickly (and we did).
- If you can, move with someone and/or somewhere you know at least one person. Having just one friend helps combat loneliness and gives you the strength to stay when you inevitably get homesick.