Everyone hears about the college grads that are forced to move home after their diplomas are handed to them. There is a vast expanse of us who are forced to revert back to childhood while trying to prepare for adulthood. There are also a plethora of college grads who are able to use the connections made in their college town to get a job and stay there. They get to live in a familiar place, close to their alma mater, in case they need that dose of undergrad to make them feel like their student loans were worth it.
I was one of the latter. I got offered a job a week after graduation and scooped it up. Seventy percent of my friends also stayed in town. It seemed like the perfect situation.
Then, two years later, I was in the same town I went to college in, with the same people, at the same job, and I couldn't handle it any longer. I saw people settling down, moving in with significant others, committing to pets, signing leases for more than a year at a time. I felt like if I didn't get out now I would be stuck there forever. And I'm the girl who literally kept a tent in the trunk of her car just in case I ever needed to run away. The feeling of being stuck anywhere did not sit well with me.
I love Washington, DC. It is a great place to live, don't get me wrong. However, I had lived on the east coast my entire life. I was over it. There were so many other places I hadn't seen, or lived or experienced. I felt like, for the first time since high school, I was actually missing out on something.
There is obviously only one solutions to this. I decided to move halfway across the country.
Choosing the city to relocate to was a harder decision than the one to leave. I had very specific requirements.
1. Needs to be a city. I would never go back to a country setting again.
2. Lower cost of living than DC. That one wasn't hard to find.
3. No weather. After six years of DC summer storms and Snowpocalypse, I can do without for a while.
4. Brunch. Wherever I live must have a brunch scene.
I played the Craigslist game for a few months, choosing a city at random and observing the prices and availability. I cycled through Chicago quickly; too cold. San Francisco looked promising until I saw the prices. The midwest as a whole just isn't for me. Finally I settled on Austin, Tex. And by settled I mean my best friend from high school suggested it and after watching Friday Night Lights I was convinced it is where I belonged. (I know that FNL does not take place in Austin, it takes place in a fictional small town, but it sold me on Texas as a whole.)
Packing my life into a Penske truck and driving it 2,000 miles away was one of the most liberating, albeit stressful, experiences of my life. I have something new to look forward to again instead of the mundane routine that I had grown accustomed to. Stability is not the only thing a 20-something craves. Sometimes all we need is some adventure and a change of pace to get us back to normal.
The cross-country move seems to be a common plight of the recent grad. Whether we are home or still in our college town, we share the same feelings of getting out. It is the first feeling we can share as a group since the "Oh, crap" moment after graduating.
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