It’s been FIVE years this week since we relocated to Austin, and it’s time for my annual assessment! I had written three different posts for this, each with about 25 revisions. But in the end I decided to just simplify.

I’ve realized that Austin is a great city that meets or exceeds just about all of our needs. I can–and do–often bitch about the heat, of which I’m very ill-equipped to handle (just try strapping a squirmy toddler into a carseat with a heat index of 110º), and the fact that traffic is bad, but that’s really about the end of my complaints. I’ve tried to make Austin out to be the bad guy in the last two years, but there’s not a lot bad you can say about the city non-weather or infrastructure related. Austin has been good to us as we have had successful careers here and raised Johnny.

But that’s not to say I want to stay.

No, the main problem I have after five years with Austin is that it’s 1,161 miles from Minneapolis, and I now know that’s where would much prefer to be. I think I used the same word last year to sum up my feelings, and that is “disconnected.” Aside from Lauren and one other random friend, every other person I’d ever met in the first 29 years of my life lives hundreds or thousands of miles away. And to go back even for a few days with a toddler takes months of planning and thousands of dollars.

We’re not the only ones to relocate here. Two of our best couple friends both moved here from out-of-state as well. But in one case their parents moved here too, and the other moved here with several other college friends, plus a side of their family is within driving distance. Another relocated-to-Austin friend convinced his cousins to move here. I had one other co-worker who moved here from Virginia who was totally solo and knew no one, but last year she–for a lot of the same reasons as I’m describing–went back to Virginia. We’re like the only people I know here who are here totally on our own. And for some reason that bugs me a lot.

I mean this will be the sixth straight Fourth of July where we’ve been here on our own. I’m not saying my friends or family from South Dakota and/or Minnesota are doing something TOTALLY AMAZING that we can’t attend, but to never spend holidays with them is crappy. My brother and sister both have new houses I’ve never seen. Lauren’s family has a cabin on a lake they all frequent. And ticket prices at Target Field are cheap now!

I think Lauren and I have generally the same feelings on the subject, only my timeline is NOW NOW NOW and Lauren is much more logical and saying “let’s give it a couple years and see what happens.” We are both also open to living in a different new city someday. I would totally be up for moving every five years. But right now I just have this urge to get back to Minneapolis, and I’m sorry but that’s just the way I feel.

Having said all of that, I’m doing well. I’m not some blubbering mess. I have lots of fun here and, well, we’re parents now anyway so it’s not like I’d be gallivanting all over town. We get regular visitors passing through here.

Anyway, this was my annual chance to share my many emotions with you all. To sum up my feelings after five years–Austin’s a great city especially now that the rock-throwing bandit is off the streets, but I miss the Upper Midwest–Minneapolis specifically. We’ll be here another year or two barring some unforeseen incident, so check back in 2017 for my 6-year review.