The 10 Year Itch: Why I Moved Away, and Why I'm Ready to Move Again a Decade Later

Updated on October 11, 2017

The Decision to Move

Moving away from the Midwest was an idea that came to me very early on in life. I was born and raised in northern Indiana; a place where I learned how to shovel snow from the driveway and scrape ice off the windows, a place with a 360 degree view of flat farmlands, a place where the humidity could clamp your breath like a vice grip and turn you damp after only a few short minutes of being outside. So ten years ago when I graduated college (in northern Indiana), I made the decision to move on and move away. OK, technically I had made up my mind long before then, but that is when I decided to actually put my money where my mouth was and get moving!

There were certainly other reasons apart from the extreme weather that made somewhere else a more appealing option—the main one being my career. I was fresh out of the gates of college with a degree in education, and my hometown had a fairly competitive job market. The highly sought out school districts had few job openings, and newer teachers were being faced with annual "pink slips" (basically meaning there was no real job security from year-to-year). No, thank you. It seemed as though it would be wise to move to a new location with more career opportunities.

Another reason for wanting to move? Well, it's quite simple—because I wanted to and I could. Sometimes it's ok to want something different and go for it; and larger, more tangible reasons aren't always necessary. 22 years old, college degree in hand, and having the ambition to run full force into the adult world were really all the reasons I needed. Honestly, if I wasn't going to go then, I wasn't sure I ever, really would. So away I would go!

From the Midwest to the Southwest

Make the decision to move? Check. Start saving for the move? Check. Planning the move…errr…to where? Of all the cities, all the states, the whole country, where was I heading? Clearly, employment opportunities and weather were top priorities. Keeping these things in mind was important for narrowing down my search, but the key for me was also connections. Once I started considering places where I had friends and family, my search began to fall in place. When all the researching and consideration was said and done, I chose Phoenix, AZ. It was a large enough city where I would have many more jobs in my field available, I had family and friends from high school and college (networking), the weather seemed too good to be true, and I was ready to transition from rural to urban. That was that, off to Phoenix!

Very amateur photo taken near the Superstition Mountains. A lake in the middle of the desert!
Very amateur photo taken near the Superstition Mountains. A lake in the middle of the desert! | Source

Fast Forward 10 Years...

It's been an entire decade since I moved, an entire decade, and what feels like an entire new life. Believe it or not, there are still folks in my hometown who continue to ask when I'm coming "home." Time and time again, I continue to reply that I am home. I was lucky enough to find a job right away (and yes, I still work there), a year later I met the man of my life (who had also migrated to the Southwest all the way from the Atlantic coast), and several years later we got married. Two dogs, several homes and cars, many adventures later, the highs, the lows, and everything in between, and here we are. We've celebrated many accomplishments, both as individuals and as a team; and we've overcome a number of challenges, together and individually. We have humble lives, we work, we play, we live. Our own sitcom probably wouldn't draw in enough of an audience to make it past the pilot, but it's our life and we wouldn't change it.

Or would we? We've worked hard to build and establish a comfortable and happy life together where we currently live. We do enjoy our life here, but you know, we've each moved before, and what's keeping us from moving again?

Still Here...For Now

So, what keeps me here. Here in the place where I chose to move, in the place where I began a new life. Well, for starters, I have pretty much everything I imagined. (There are a few ideas I used to imagine, but we're all certainly entitled to change our minds along the way. Plans change sometimes!)

The weather, oh the weather! The cold was clearly not my friend, but I certainly do enjoy the warm weather. Sure it gets pretty damn hot here sometimes, but nine months of the year is just about perfect. Also, a lot of people don't realize that there are lots of areas in Arizona with high enough altitudes to get plenty of snow, you know, if I ever miss it. The whole state is not dry desert; there are lush forests and ski lodges up the mountains in a few directions. Needless to say, if we want to see snow, we can get there easily.

Phoenix Average Annual Temperature: 75° F

Lastly, there's just so much to do. Not only is Phoenix full of activities and events, but we're so close to so many destination areas. I could likely write an entire new article on all the places up the Pacific coast I'd like to visit and explore (as I add to my journal for future reference). It could be a delayed quarter-life crisis, yet a lot of the reasons that brought me here and keep me here seem to spark something in me that makes me question whether or not we can find these things in a new place.

Another amateur photograph atop Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ
Another amateur photograph atop Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ | Source

So What's Next?

Plans change sometimes. Our careers have gone in different directions, and we've experienced enough career advancements to consider relocating. There's a life-altering decision we made together that really allows more mobility for us—we had determined that children were just not in our future. A huge upside to that, for us, is when we eventually do start looking elsewhere, seeking out the best schools or the right neighborhoods for kids won't necessarily be our concerns. We also rent our home, therefore we wouldn't have to worry about the selling a house, just moving to a new one. We may be living an altered version of the futures we had once imagined, but that is a-ok!

We're growing older together and wanting more for ourselves. It's part of growing up! We realize that we have plenty of opportunities ahead of us, ones that could potentially take us some place different. Each of our families are back east, too. We're an aunt and uncle now who are missing out on so many huge moments with the munchkins. If you also live a considerable distance from your family, you can understand that sometimes phone calls and video chats aren't always enough. We're also getting a little restless in the desert. There is plenty to do and see, and the majority of the year provides such comfortable weather, but we really would like to live somewhere else some day.

Next time around, and there will be a next time, moving will be different. Now I have a partner to make decisions with. Someone that I get to plan the next stages of life with, and someone to help put things in motion. When we do decide to take the plunge, we'll both be able to use our past experiences to make sure things go smoothly. Researching and planning are actually really fun for me (nerd alert), and in the process we get to play pretend while we map out the new future. One thing's for sure though, even though we're well below the averages for the number of times we've each changed careers and moved [see below], it would be nice to consider making a more permanent next, big move.

Number of Jobs Held in a Lifetime

To determine the number of jobs in a lifetime, one would need data from a longitudinal survey that tracks the same respondents over their entire working lives. So far, no longitudinal survey has ever tracked respondents for that long. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), however, has tracked younger baby boomers over a considerable segment of their lives.

A BLS news release published in March 2015 examined the number of jobs that people born in the years 1957 to 1964 held from age 18 to age 48. The title of the report is "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey." The report is available on the BLS website.

These younger baby boomers held an average of 11.7 jobs from ages 18 to 48. (In this report, a job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer.) On average, men held 11.8 jobs and women held 11.5 jobs.

Number of Moves in a Lifetime

Using 2007 ACS data, it is estimated that a person in the United States can expect to move 11.7 times in their lifetime based upon the current age structure and average rates and allowing for no more than one move per single year. At age 18, a person can expect to move another 9.1 times in their remaining lifetime, but by age 45, the expected number of moves is only 2.7.

How many times have you moved in your lifetime?

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Share Your Story

**Does this sound familiar to anyone? Have any readers also felt this way? I would sincerely love to hear your experiences—share below!**


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    • profile image

      LeAnn Rodriguez 

      2 years ago

      I am also a Midwest native, from Iowa specifically, and moved to Tucson over four years ago. While I appreciate the growth from moving so far from family and friends, I have a whole new appreciation for the Midwest and look forward to moving back in the next year or two. I have learned that for myself, I would rather live in a more rural setting and visit cities. An alternative to that would be to live in Des Moines. My husband is not much for cold weather, however, I have discovered here, that the heat is too intense for me. I know in my heart I need to live closer to my parents to help them and later on I would love to live near water. Great post! Would love to meet for coffee sometime and chat. Have a great day!

    • nboyd2906 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicole Lewis 

      2 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Glenn, thank you! It's nice to hear from others who have similar sentiments. I feel like I have grown so much and become much more open minded, so I highly encourage everyone to visit new places whenever they have the opportunities, even for short amounts of time. I have yet to travel to the northeastern states but sure hope to some day, especially as it houses such rich, historical sites! Happy travels ✌

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Congratulations for being selected for LetterPile. I enjoyed reading your experience with moving and how life changes affect those decisions to move again.

      I've moved a few times in my life, but always within the same state. Although, as I get older I keep thinking I don't want to live and die in the same place. Other parts of the country offer so many advantages, and as you said about the school system - that's no concern without having children who would attend school.

      We only have one life, and we should give ourselves the chance to experience living in different locations. For some, even other countries might be a consideration.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

      Gina Welds Hulse 

      2 years ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Oh, I will absolutely write about them. I lived in Mexico for a year when I was 18, but I never thought to write about that experience. I wonder if there is enough in this mind of mine to do it still!

      I truly believe that teenagers /young people should travel in their younger days. Doing so truly changed my life.

      Safe journeys!

    • nboyd2906 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicole Lewis 

      2 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      It's kismet! I hope to get the opportunity to travel internationally, and how amazing it would be to live in another country, even just for a short time. From one fellow wanderluster to another, safe journeys! I hope to read about your experiences in the near future :)

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

      Gina Welds Hulse 

      2 years ago from Rockledge, Florida

      It was so ironic that I found your article. My younger kids and I have been talking about moving to England for a few years now. I finally decided to put plans into motion this you "putting your money where your mouth is."

      I have been in this area of Central Florida for the last 15 years......the longest I have been in any location, including the country where I was born. lol.

      By this time next year we hope to be on England's soil and roaming the European countryside soon after.


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