Going out of state for college was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. To be honest, I only considered out of state schools. The only big state school I considered at all was UVA, and no school in Florida really spoke to me. (I think a lot of people who read my blog make the assumption that I would have loved being in a sorority, but truthfully, Greek life never sounded appealing to me and my personality. Not saying that it can’t be wonderful for other people– I just knew it wouldn’t be for me.)
Being away from home for the first time was a challenge. But that decision was the best thing I think I could have done for myself. It forced me to grow in ways I didn’t think was possible and forced me to find out who I was, outside of my family and way outside of my comfort zone. If anything, my move to DC for school, then NYC, and most recently Connecticut, taught me how to bloom where I’m planted. This is NOT something that I was naturally good at, but now I am pretty confident that I could live anywhere and make a great life for myself.
This August it will be nine years since I officially left Tampa.
I was just in Tampa this weekend for Mother’s Day and every time I’m down there I get an influx of questions about when I’m going to be back.
I have SO MANY thoughts about Tampa. They’re all over the board. But I thought I’d fill you in on why I would or wouldn’t want to move. It’s complicated and often what’s a pro for one reason is also a con for another. I go back and forth about it every day.
The post is going to be more of a ramble because that is kind of exactly how it is in my head. And I should also start by saying that if I could set up an ideal living situation it would be a town where my whole family and all my close friends lived, all four seasons (but a short winter and a mild summer), near a city with a good airport (practical), great schools (important), and good business opportunities. It’s a unicorn.
In no particular order of importance:
My family. Obviously living near my family is a HUGE draw to living in Tampa. I love them and do get a little jealous when I see them all together. It’s the little things that make me the most jealous, like when I see my sister just pop on down to my parent’s house for dinner or breakfast before work. Especially as I get older, I do think I want to be near my parents when I start to have children. I know my parents (specifically my dad) would never move somewhere else because why would you move away from a state where you can golf 365 days of the year?! My sister and I have talked about living together if I moved down there– not sure if her two cats would get along with my dogs but we’d figure it out, ha.
Now, while it’s a pro… it is also a little bit of a con. I just know that if I moved to Tampa, I think I would only hang out with my mom and her friends. I love them! But it’s probably not the most normal for a 27-year-old to be bosom buddies with sixty-year-old women.
Speaking of which…
My friends. Many of my sister’s friends still live in Tampa. She’s actually roommates with her best friend from kindergarten; it’s pretty cute. For whatever reason, my entire friend group left Tampa. Not one of my close friends lives there anymore– they live pretty much everywhere except Tampa: Boston, NYC, San Fransico, North Florida, Alabama, Atlanta, D.C. If I moved to Tampa, I’d be starting from scratch in the friend department, and I love my friends here in Connecticut and NYC.
Work. I’m quite fortunate to be able to work from anywhere. It’s a privilege that I don’t take for granted. I love the flexibility. And even though it may sound a little strange, just because I can work from anywhere doesn’t mean that I should work from anywhere. There’s a lot that I have to weigh when it comes to moving away because there are a lot of benefits for what I do to be close to the city. My thoughts are that I’m not a big enough blogger to be completely fine living just anywhere (where all the opportunities would come no matter what) and I’m big enough where I can still carve out space for myself to make opportunities for myself in NYC.
IT’S SO HOT. You know how some people could never live in the north because they don’t want to deal with snow? That is kind of how I feel about the heat. Unless you’ve lived in Florida for an entire year, I don’t think you can truly grasp just how hot it is. That is, it’s totally different if you visit for a week at the beach on vacation. When you have to live there, it’s an entirely different story. Just like how people in the north hibernate inside during the winter, Floridians hibernate in the air conditioning during the summer. IT. IS. HOT. My skin is also very fair, and it’s really not that enjoyable constantly worrying about sun exposure.
I do think I’ll eventually consider raising my kids in Florida (because of my family), but I swear I already dread sitting on the sidelines of soccer games every weekend just absolutely melting in the sun.
On the flip side, I would like living somewhere again where the trees are green year round. I love the changing leaves in the fall, and I like when the trees are covered in snow up here, but then around February, I’m ready for green and spring flowers again.
Buying vs. renting. If I move there, I want to live in South Tampa (where my parents/sister live). Unfortunately, the housing market is pretty similar to what it is here in Connecticut. Aka it’s very expensive. It’s best when you have two incomes (or willing parents) to contribute to the down payment. I also don’t want a huge house, which is surprisingly difficult to find. Most two or three bedroom houses in South Tampa are “tear downs” and being sold for the lots they sit on basically. I wouldn’t say that I’m actively looking for houses down there, but I wouldn’t say that I’m not actively looking either. I’m keeping my eye on listings. If I found a perfect house that’s in my current budget, I can see myself just going for it. I haven’t found it yet though… and I have a feeling that the next place I move, it won’t be a rental.
My Dating Life. I know I said I wouldn’t, but I couldn’t do this post without addressing it. Honestly, I’ve been pretty lucky in the dating department this year, and it’s not a boat I want to rock just yet. Mic drop.
So those are some of the really big things that I think about when considering Tampa. I do know that if I move there, that it will likely be the last move. There’s something very definitive about it, and it scares me too.
(I also just have to throw it out there that it drives me insane when people say how I look “so much happier” when I’m in Tampa. I’m always there for holidays, and it’s typically more of a vacation than not. It’s like someone saying, “You looked so happy on your holiday in Hawaii, you should move there!” Of course I’m going to look happier in Tampa than my everyday life in Connecticut because I’m not sitting at a desk all day working… but if I lived there, I’d still have the same daily life stuff to do, it wouldn’t be a permanent vacation.)