Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I have spent the better part of my morning scrutinizing Money Magazine's Top 100 Place to Live list. At first I was reading about each city on the list and marking off or adding to my own personal notes, but I found that much more interesting are the reader comments. I got many good suggestions from those and we have a lot of research to do. It's funny how drastically different real world perspective is to that of the magazine. The criteria this year was for small towns with a population lower than 50K, which I'm not sure is something I would want to move to.
Anyone who knows me, knows I hate it in Indiana and can't wait to leave. I've lived in both the Indianapolis suburbs (if you can even call them that) and in Muncie, which is about an hour and a half northeast. High crime rates and small minds are abundant in both places and I am finding that it is mind-numbingly boring, at least in our small corner of the city. Indianapolis boasts diversity, but that is admittedly not something that peaks my interest. I long much more for a friendly atmosphere and family-oriented city, as well as better school system and scenery. Indiana is ugly, the schools are atrocious and most of the people I meet here are incredibly traditional.
I mentioned going out the other night with my mom. What I didn't mention is that we tried to go to a bar and had to leave after 20 minutes because I couldn't stand the smoke. When we do move it will definitely need to be to a city that has a public smoking ban. Indiana is absolutely full of smokers (who get very defensive about their "right" to smoke, no less) and I hate it.
Reading more and more about the different parts of Central Indiana, I'm really kicking myself that we didn't do more research and instead just settled on a home in a subdivision with a horrid Homeowners Association just because the house was big. Stupid stupid stupid mistake on our part. Lesson learned the hard way.
I am lucky to have found a niche in a babywearing group, which has led me to several moms who share my philosophies. If it weren't for them, I would likely be much more miserable!
DH IMed me this morning with a couple different job listings, one in Westminster, CO and one in Needham, MA. The idea of actually being able to afford Massachusetts is laughable at best, but it sparked my interest and three hours later, here I sit with a 20-city long list of places we could move. We are fortunate in that DH has skills that are needed almost everywhere and he would not have much of a problem finding job opportunities all over the US. Which is both good and bad. Endless choices, but a very difficult decision!
The one thing keeping us in Indiana is my family. The thought of moving my boys (and myself!) away from my mom and the rest of my family is heartbreaking. But they have no plans to move until my sister graduates, which won't be for another six years, and I just don't think I can tough it out that much longer. She recently started a new job where we don't see her but once a week anyway, so that has helped me to get used to the idea of living away from them. That's growing up, I guess!
So, anyway. Where do you live? Do you like it? What do you like about it? I need ideas! My list so far spans the country, with places such as:
- Texas: Carrollton, Keller, Lewisville, Grapevine and Friendswood
- California: Claremont, El Dorado Hills and Thousand Oaks
- Arizona: Surprise, Payson, Gilbert and Flagstaff
- Colorado: Boulder, Louisville, Parker, Westminster, Ft. Collins and Durango
- Utah: Logan and Utopia
DH and I grew up in Texas and we've always had a great love for the state, so moving there would be awesome. But I also think California, Arizona and Colorado are beautiful places with lots to offer. Having not traveled to many other places, it's hard for me to picture living somewhere like Washington or the East Coast. But I saw rave reviews for Naperville, IL, Edmonds, WA, Coeur d'Alene, ID, Berkeley Heights, NJ, Cary, NC, and Irmo, SC. How in the world do I even begin to narrow this down? Obviously job availability will play a big role.. but wow. It's easy to get overwhelmed.
I guess first I need to decide what is most important to us. Right now I would say affordable housing (in ratio to median income), plentiful leisure activities, job growth, school systems, crime rate and health care are at the top of my list. Not as important are diversity and weather.
Most of all, I just want to love where we live. I want to be proud of living there and involved in the community. I want it to be a great place for my children to grow so that we can move there and stay there for a long time. It sounds like such a pipe dream right now, but maybe some day it will happen.
Tue Aug 28, 03:43:00 PM EDT
Wed Aug 29, 02:40:00 AM EDT