Three Years in ATX

Do you miss us yet? We miss you!

It has been three entire years since we moved to Austin!  You will recall that in 2012 I did a one-year recap.  So I figured it would be wise to revisit things here in 2014.

How It All Began
As the legend goes, in late 2010 Lauren began saying “let’s move somewhere fun!” rather regularly as we were buried under feet of snow for what seemed like an eternity. When snow hadn’t let up much by April and I was dejected with my career path, I jumped on board with Lauren’s sentiments and we looked into some warmer weather cities. Yada yada yada, we wound up choosing Austin, Texas and rather abruptly I uprooted my old life and left for hotter pastures!

I landed a better job. Lauren landed a better job. We got to experience a different climate, a different culture, and a different way of life. We got to leave the snow and ice and frigid winter weather behind. And when we did return to the north, it was all the more special to see friends and family and we had a greater appreciation for the city we left behind. I ate more tortillas in one month than I had the rest of my life combined. I dropped “you guys” for “y’all”. We went from cheering for the pitiful Twins to cheering for the even-more-pitiful Astros. And instead of wearing a sweater, parka, scarf, two layers of gloves, and hand warmers to work, I wore shorts and flip-flops year-round.

Now?
So… how do I feel now, three whole years later?

I definitely don’t regret going for it and trying someplace new. At that point in time in 2011 we really needed that! We were in a bit of a rut, and wiping the slate clean and starting over in a new city was a hell of an adventure. Having to find a new place to live, new places to work, and new people to associate with… wow. It was a whirlwind. That’s as adventuresome as it gets.

But, as far as I’m concerned, the adventure part is over. Central Texas has been thoroughly explored. We’ve done everything there is to do in Austin aside from breaking the bank to take in a Longhorns football game. While we are moving on to new adventures in our life, these would be new adventures regardless where we would be residing.

Ice or Heat
I was recently heard blurting out to Lauren “let’s move back north!” as we watched an episode of 30Rock where people were wearing scarves and trudging through snow. Me, seeing snow and getting nostalgic? Yep. I think that means it’s official – I’ve successfully gotten the hot weather bug out of my system, and then some. The first year we were here it was record heat, but it was all so new and fun that I just went with it and didn’t complain and soaked it all in, dreaming of the mild winter that was to come. But that burst of cool air we experienced on our recent trip to Minnesota was so refreshing. I think I have been away from snow for long enough now that I could go back to it without issue. As long as we have a garage to put cars in.

Three… Going on Four Years
After the first year, I deemed the move a massive success. We were having so much fun! After the second year, I still declared it a success… we’d found a new home here!

After the third year?

Austin is still one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited. It doesn’t take too long to figure out why 5,000 new people move here every single month. The job market is booming–I could literally walk to the new Apple headquarters. Virtually every big-name music act passes through every year. The food options are ridiculous. People here may not have a pro team in town, but Austinites bleed orange for all Longhorn sports. There is no end to the entertainment options. We have a great airport where we can fly most anywhere non-stop for reasonable prices. Yes, traffic is a bitch and it literally gets noticeably worse by the month. I am not exaggerating when I say my commute time has doubled in three years. But all in all, Austin is as cool as people say.

As much fun as we’ve had, as many great friends as we’ve made, as much as our careers have improved… I must say that I am beginning to feel a little bit too detached from our old life. Right now, I can truly say for the first time, I am feeling homesick.

It sucks to get invites to some of my best friends’ weddings and know there’s no way we can justify going. And it’s sad seeing pictures of the whole family out on the lake except for me and Lauren! And I’m jealous thinking about all the fun my friends will be having with the All-Star Game in Minneapolis next month and I can only hope to catch parts on TV.

I could be saying this because it’s been so long since I’ve been to my old hometown, Carpenter. I knew when we left that the visits would be minimal, but I know that it will be at least Thanksgiving time before I return again, which is coming up on 18 months. When we left Minneapolis I knew this was going to be the case, but it becomes a little tougher after three whole years than it was after one or two. If we weren’t expecting a bundle of joy this summer, there’s no doubt I’d be planning a trip back to visit!

But…
I have a feeling everything will change very shortly. Right now, I am not exactly busy. I have work, and we have baby preparations going on like crazy, but I still have an abundance of free time. I do not do well with free time. My mind needs to be active at all times or I get anxious. And that causes me to dwell on the fact that we are a long ways away from home, or that I’m not making as much money as I thought I would be at this point in my life, or that the teams I cheer for never win… But when the baby arrives, I might be changing my tune very quickly. For that I am very excited, and when that day comes, I may not really care what city we’re residing in!

Summary
No need to read into anything too much. I told myself I’d write the most open, honest three-year review of our move as I possibly could, and I am. Austin has been a blast. Moving was pretty much the most exciting thing ever, and a much-needed change at a point in my life where I was feeling very down. Putting in my two-weeks notice at Microboards brought tears of joy to my eye.

It’s just that three years away from the Upper Midwest has made me realize that I liked it more than I thought I did when we were there. I think we’ll live in Austin for a few more years, because moving across the country is a pain in the ass when you don’t own a house, your wife doesn’t have her dream job, and you don’t have a kid on the way. Relocating again is going to be ten times more difficult, and probably much more permanent.

But I would like to re-relocate north in a few years. That’s just me. I think Lauren really likes it here and is probably more interested in staying here longer than me. I’m not saying I’m crying to Lauren that we need to pack up and move back tomorrow. I’m just saying that while Austin is great for now, I do not want to spend my 40s and 50s here. Maybe retirement.

And, having said all of this, you may want to take everything I’ve written with a grain of salt… because I just drank 3/4 of a bottle of Malbec.

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