Yearning For Simplicity

I had always wanted to live in New York. Now I’m in my sixth summer here, and while I have never actually lived in Manhattan, I have spent the vast majority of my life the past five years studying, playing, working and commuting on the island at the center of the world. But I feel like that is becoming less and less true. My office is located in midtown, near where I exit the train that takes me from my suburban sanctuary to the heart of the city each day. I exit the train and walk two minutes and find myself already in my office. This, of course, makes for convenience, but also has the unintended effect of making me feel like I am hardly in the city. Up to September of last year I was commuting downtown once I got off the commuter train, dealing daily with the subway and the hustle and bustle of the financial district. But now it seems I am confined to the few blocks around the MetLife building at 200 Park Avenue. There was a time when I spent each Saturday in the City – enjoying the crowd or skate dancers at the Central Park Sheep Meadow, strolling the esplanade of Battery Park City, catching some window shopping along West Broadway or even taking in the always-amusing sites of Washington Square Park or Union Square. But those days ended when I had children. I have learned that with young kids, the city is often more work than it is worth.

All of this is a long way to say that while I miss having freedom in the City, I can now feel satisfied that I have been there and done that. So long as I am staying at home with family after work and on the weekends, I might as well do that in a less expensive, more family-friendly location. In looking at the country’s best places to live, as ranked by CNN/Money Magazine, I am beginning to be drawn to the simplicity and convenience of living in a smaller, suburban area as opposed to one of the most densely populated areas on earth. But no discussion on moving is meaningful unless the issue of finding a job is discussed. And I am not about to begin to look for another job. For now, therefore, our house and two jobs are here in New York. And this is more than enough to keep us here. But I am finally expressing a desire to leave, and may be willing to look beyond the strict urban living criteria I have established for much of my life.


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