I have to say there’s been more than one occasion on which I thought about moving back to California. There’s even a folder on my desktop that says “Project MOVE BACK TO LA”! Mostly it’s because I miss my friends there (really so lucky that I’m able to call that group friends). A part of me knows that I’m wanting to go back to the way it was right after college and there’s no way that could happen. The vibe is different now. Not worse, just different. Some people have moved away, new people have come in. People are living their lives and I get to go intersect with them from time to time. But there’s always a part of me that wonders what if I’d stayed? Did I leave too soon?
Why Leave the Beach?
I’ve got to go back to WHY I left in the first place. Well partly I was frustrated that I wasn’t progressing anymore. I had a great job (which I still have), but there were no rungs higher on the ladder for me to climb. I would ALWAYS be doing my job and making no more money than I was. I couldn’t advance there without getting another job. So I decided I needed to invest in real estate, that would give me more money. Buy a house?! In Los Angeles?! You’re crazy! Especially if you want to rent it out and actually make money. Keep in mind, this was about 6 or 7 years ago before the crash and I didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a house with.
There was a personal aspect to it also. I was having some emotional conflicts that I couldn’t seem to rectify so my core was telling me to get a change of scenery. This is probably why I started looking outside of LA, and even California, for a new place to settle and grow my empire. The top 3 real estate markets at the time were Portland (too wet and cold), Denver (possible), and Austin (close to my parents, heard good things). After much thought and research, I finally settled on Austin.
The Ever Growing City
Although my ambitious plan of Empirical dominance did not play out like I hoped (I only have two houses here instead of 3), it at least looks like I did pick the right city to settle in. Austin has been the number one economy in the nation 8 out of the last 10 months and it’s only growing. There are tons of amazing things to do here and the festivals like ACL, SXSW, Comic Con, Texas Book Festival, and all the 5ks and races make it a very active place. It’s a good vibe in this city. I’ve been reading about further expansion of the rail system, a new bike sharing program, a complete overhaul of one of the dirtier creeks downtown which will turn it into its own riverwalk, we’ve got Formula 1 here, and now the X games are moving here. It fills me with excitement for the city and pride and hope that maybe I’ll be able to be a part of that growth.
As one of my Ultimate frisbee friends put it recently, “Limited government, reasonable taxes overall, business friendly, low cost of living, and hard working people make a good combination.”
So while I still have emotional conflicts and I miss my people in LA and I don’t make comedic shorts on the internet anymore and I don’t have a beach 20 minutes away or mountains in the distance, I love this city. I love kayaking on its waters, watching the bats, looking out over Mt Bonnel at Lake Austin, people watching on top of the Blind Pig, chatting with club owners and business moguls like it ain’t no thang, hanging with friends at a dive bar, and listening to live music galore all around me. And of course I love living 5 minutes from the airport which is a quick few hours to beaches, mountains, long lost friends and new ones.
So yeah. Life ain’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn good. :)
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