My friends and readers of this blog know that I’ve been preparing to move to Brooklyn later this year. Mostly because I won’t shut up about it.
I did a two-week trial run in the city to see if I would actually enjoy the hustle and bustle of New York. Turns out, I love it.
Coming home from that, I felt elated, motivated, and driven to get myself ready for the transition. I was dead set.
Last week, I decided not to move. Let me explain.
Wait, but why?
For people who’ve been following this saga, I’m sure this seems anticlimactic. I mean, I’ve been writing about this since November of last year. The first blog I wrote about wanting to make the trek is still my most viewed piece, with 1000+ unique readers.
So what happened? Did I chicken out? Was I using people’s love for adventure as click bate? Am I a sleazy fraud?
Well, yes and no.
I can break it down into two main reasons for not packing up and moving my life to New York this October. There’s a logical reason and a more emotional one. Let’s hit them in order.
As soon as I got back from my NYC beta test, I felt it was finally time to stop procrastinating and crunch the numbers.
I put everything I could think of into a Google Sheet. All the purchases and fees. All the housing payments. Loads of furniture I’d have to buy. The U-Haul. I did my best to estimate what the first three months would look like for my bank account.
It’s been so easy to joke about the cost of living in New York, but seeing it all laid out in front of you is a completely different beast.
For what I want, rent would be $2.5k-$4k per month (not including utilities). Moving in would require the first and last month’s payment. Depending on the quality of furniture I got—couch, desk, chairs—it would all cost somewhere between $2k-$5k.
Sitting in this seat and looking at all the numbers quickly adding up, I got anxious. I know enough about myself and my business to know that I could continue to create income that would allow me to do this. I could figure it out.
But not comfortably.
When I told one of my buddies, he put it well.
“It sounds like you’d be in survival mode the first few months.”
He was exactly right. I doubt I’d become homeless. But during the first three to six months in Brooklyn, my main goal would be to figure out how to pay my bills.
For obvious reasons, I don’t want to do that. I want to go somewhere new and live my life. I want to go out and have fun. I’m looking to adventure. Counting every dollar doesn’t appeal to me.
After filling out the sheet, the thought occurred to me: What if I didn’t move this year? With that came a rush of relief.
Then I thought, Damn…my readers are going to roll their eyes.
I went to a best friend’s wedding a few weekends ago. The week prior, another best friend moved back to the area after living in Rwanda for years.
She brought back her husband, who she met there, and will be going to grad school in the fall. That week preceding the wedding, they came over and I met her husband for the first time.
I liked him immediately.
What I expected to be a quick hello turned into hours of sitting at my dining table and talking. My friend even used my office to take a call with her soon-to-be fellow students. Meanwhile, I sat and chatted with her husband and picked his brain on what he thought about the states. It was his first time leaving the continent of Africa.
Hugging them goodbye brought joy to my heart. There’s a huge difference between, “When will you be in town next,” and, “See you next weekend?” And that difference means the world to me.
My deepest-held value is spending quality time with those I care about.
I often think of the ‘hospital room’ scenario. If I got into a horrible car accident today, who would be in that hospital room with me when I woke up? It sounds dark but it’s a useful mental model for measuring how strong our relationships are at any given time.
Anyway, not only did this friend just move back here after years of adventure across the ocean. But another one of my best friends will be returning to the area at the end of the summer.
That means that in a one hour radius, I’ll have 14 close friends, my mom and sister, aunts and uncles, and my jiujitsu team.
I told my buddy all this on the phone the other day. What he said reassured me.
“You know, man,” he said. “There’s that statistic. 80% of people die within 100 miles from where they were born. I used to think that was depressing. But now as I get older, I realize…it’s really fucking hard to leave your friends and family.”
Ain’t that the truth.
Call me a chicken, but I’m finding it hard to justify leaving all of my favorite people on the planet. I’m under no illusion that we’ll spend the rest of our lives living 10 minutes away from one another. But at the very least, I feel the need to take advantage of this opportunity while I have it.
NYC is expensive and I love my friends and family. Maybe next year.