024 - Copy (3)I can’t believe it’s been almost six years since we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Milwaukee, WI. We moved here for a new job opportunity with Jeff’s former company and we thought we’d be here for about two years, tops. We were thrilled with the idea of moving to sunny California, but we always knew we were Midwestern people, so this was just meant to be a fun, temporary excursion for us. And here we are, nearly six years later with a house, a toddler, a dog, friends, and a life we enjoy. Yet, in the back of our minds we’ve always known at some point we’d make our way back home. Home is where the heart is…things like family, old friends, and affordable housing.

Now that I’m not working and tied to a job it sort of seems like the perfect time to make our break for the Midwest, in particular, our home state of Indiana. I definitely feel less connected out here without a job and my fear is that if I start a new job we’ll be here for another 5+ years and by that point, we’ll never move back. Our main reasons for wanting to head East is to be closer to family. I’m really close with my parents and brother and I hate the idea of only seeing them three times a year indefinitely. Also, it’ll be very difficult for us to upgrade to a larger house in a good school system on one income because it’s so expensive to live in the Bay Area. As we grow our family, having more space and a big yard sounds so wonderful, and we can have that in spades in Indiana.

What is quality of life?

To Jeff, quality of live is having a nice home, good schools, living close to family and being able to have them over for dinner on Sundays. He’s been looking at Indianapolis area homes for sale online and getting uber excited about how far your money can go. He’s fantasizing about a large home with a basement and a man cave with the prospect of having enough disposable income for things like a country club membership. The nice thing is my parents would only be 2 ½ hours north and my brother would only be about 4 hours South in Nashville. Plus, I have a couple of my best college friends in Indy, so that would be great, too. And of course Annabelle would have a very nice life with good schools if we lived in Indy. It’s important to me that she has all the comforts growing up that I had.

But the biggest downside of Indy is that it can’t compete with Cali weather, the scenic landscape, and oodles of exciting activities all within a short driving distance. If you’re someone that enjoys sunny blue skies and warm, mild weather year-round, you’ll appreciate my dilemma. I freaking LOVE the weather here. Having lived in a cold climate my whole life, this has been heaven on earth. I get to walk my dog with Annabelle in a stroller outside every day because it’s been in the 60s all February. I even went to the pool today because it was nearly 80 degrees in early March! It’s fantastic. This is a very valuable thing when you consider how a stay at home mom spends her days — on walks and at the park! Good weather is important.

2_13_10I love that every year starting in January I begin training for my 65 mile bike marathon in April. I’m riding my bike on sunny, 50–70 degree days and enjoying the green rolling hills of wine country. All the while I’m hearing about the blizzard back home and it sounds so depressing. I also love that I can hop on a train and go into San Francisco for a night out or a fun little afternoon shopping trip. I can get to Napa Valley in 45 minutes, ski in Lake Tahoe in three hours, and head to the beach in less than an hour. It’s really amazing out here. But damn, the cost of living and distance from family are major drawbacks.

This is a big decision and it’s not an easy or obvious one. I just wish I felt stronger for one over the other. Jeff’s getting frustrated with me for not making a decision and I’m getting anxiety fearing I’ll make the wrong one. I want to avoid being that annoying new girl in town that can’t shut up about California! What do you think friends, should we stay or should we go?

8 Comments on Decision time: Stay in Cali or move to the Midwest?

  1. You must have meant you want to go to Minneapolis! But, when you are ready to go you will know it in your heart/gut. It will just feel right.

  2. Ha! Sorry MJ, my heart doesn’t belong to Minni. 🙁 And we need to talk, coz I don’t really think your heart belongs to Minni anymore either… I’m thinking your heart belongs to SF more and more!

  3. IMO – family trumps weather. Life is too short. I’d rather miss the decent weather of CA than all the memories my baby & myself could have in being closer to family. I’d want my child to have as much opportunity to get to know her grandparents and other family members while they’re still alive. Take it from me. I’m 39 and have lost both my mom & dad already. Never expected to lose them quite so soon (my dad was 71 – died of an unexpected problem with his heart back in ’09 – and lost my mom in ’06, at age 59 due to MS. They were happily married for 39 years. Wish my kids could get to know them more. They’re gone and now I could move to CA and enjoy all the perfect weather I want. You’ve had 6 years to enjoy CA – 4 of those years like you said, were not intended – so they were a bonus. You can always go back later in life to enjoy it’s weather/activities again. Your family on the other hand for AB’s sake will not always be there. I live in the north east and know about winter weather. Think of the fun you could have letting AB experience the snow – by making snow angels with her or watching her make snowmen etc. Best wishes & luck in what you finally decide!

  4. This is a very personal decision. We have moved a lot as you know. I loved a lot of the cities we lived in and met the most amazing friends. But, after putting my children first and knowing they needed to grow up with an extended family we moved back home. Yes, I love having the family close by, they do help out a lot, and my kids finally know everyone. However, it’s been a struggle for me, longing for my friends and no longer having the city life. All in all I’m thrilled we came back and finally have a place to call home and really mean it. Good luck with your decision, where ever you go, and make a pro/con list to help you!

  5. You’ve touched on one of my biggest fears, @BewitchedBy3. I’m dreading getting a phone call someday saying something has happened to a family member and I haven’t seen them in 4-6 months. That freaks me out. I do want Annabelle to know her grandparents — i.e. MY parents (my in-laws live out here half the year). Thanks for your perspective!

  6. Thanks, Stacy. You need to take the same outgoing attitude you had in VA, WI, and Indy to starting new friend/mom/book club groups in SB!

  7. Please let us know your decision. I would strongly suggest not to make that move. From reading your article, I gather you love outdoors and the warm SUN. I moved from Orange County to OH and then MI and has been the worst decision. SUN here is deceiving. Have your family visit you more often and you visit them. The cold gloomy days, the people and the healthcare, specially in MI is simply not worth it. Intellect is also low in the midwest. Don’t move. Enjoy CA.

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