Cost of living/How much the life you lead is worth

(This post has been brewing for a while, but it’s such a huge subject that I hope I’ve done it justice)
Through the wonder that is the blog world, I have made friends all over the US, and internationally. And invariably the subject comes up of just how expensive it is to live where I do. I live in the most expensive area in the country. Obviously that means that anywhere I go that isn’t here would be cheaper. But I stay because it is where I was raised, and I love it here. It’s also all I’ve ever known.
My cost of living would be 48% lower if I lived near Brad. The salaries there are only 15% lower. The comparison is 43/17 if I lived near Caryn. 48/22 near David. I complain a lot about how expensive it is here. So it seems like a no brainer right? Move somewhere cheaper. I’ve got at least one friend waiting in each place I just mentioned. There is a lot to be gained from a move like that. More disposable income. Maybe a house of my own that I don’t have to share with anyone.
But at what cost? My family is here. The ocean is here. All my friends, every location I’ve ever known in my life- where I went to school; the rock CJ and I sat on the first time we kissed; the park where Val and I used to hang out, late at night with a 40 of cheap beer. Everyone I’ve ever worked with, everyone who has seen what I can do, whether it’s professionally, artistically or spiritually. All the places I take for granted, that I never really go to, but know are an easy distance away if I wanted to go to them- the Exploratorium, Filoli, the water temple, Golden Gate Park. Can monetary vslue really be placed on those things?
But somewhere new has new places to discover. Places to make new memories with new friends. A chance to pay off old debts with a newfound disposable income. A chance to start some real savings. Disposable income is practically a foreign phrase in these parts. Somewhere new has so many possibilities that seem like impossibilities when looked at from the perspective of staying here.
Then I ask myself if that wold be enough to give up the life I have here. I’m broke all the time, yeah. My housemates drive me crazy a lot of the time, sure. My job isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life, true. All of those things would be different somewhere new. But it’s also true that despite those things I’m reasonably happy. I have fun with my friends and I enjoy my life the way it is. It’s also true that I don’t always deal well with change. And then I think that maybe I could still be happy, if the change could be controlled.
The possibilities are exciting. The cost would be high. I don’t know what I’m going to decide. I just know that even knowing the cost, I’m not ready to stop considering it.

3 thoughts on “Cost of living/How much the life you lead is worth

  1. David Quinn

    Just think if you move here you could save all that extra money and visit them when you want. So, I will start gathering the home magazines for you.

  2. kathy

    You know I understand this.
    It would be incredibly glib to say “all those places and all those things will always be there and you can always go back anytime,” because the truth is nothing is really permanent. Even my high school has been torn down. And no, you can’t place a monetary value on those things, but if they’re going to change, they’re going to change regardless of whether or not you’re there.
    The cost is always high when you’re making important decisions… because they matter to you. But I can definitely tell you this–HAVING choices is the most important part, and hell, if you already have a friend in the place you’re going you’ve won half the battle. It’s a big deal, big decision, and I know it’s a hard one.

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