I recently went to New York City on a trip for work. It had been over a year since I’ve been back. I chose a hotel in my old neighborhood, and as soon as I could drop my bag in my room I was off. I walked by the building my husband and I used to live in, I got coffee at my favorite café, and I took in everything I could before a working dinner. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to run in Riverside Park, and the next morning in Central Park. I ate a white chocolate bon-bon with key lime filling and a milk chocolate infused with champagne from Jacques Torres while walking down the street on the way to meet friends for Japanese skewers, and then on to Greenwich Village for a piece of chocolate cake with coconut shavings. Every minute I was not working I absorbed New York. I came home exhausted and refreshed.
I believed I was ready to leave New York when my husband and I moved to Washington, D.C. for job opportunities we felt were prudent to pursue. Neither one of us were earning enough to take advantage of what New York had to offer and save for the future. I was ready to live in an apartment bigger than 400 square feet. I was ready to have a dishwasher.
I miss New York, but I don’t regret the move. We weighed the positive and negative factors of staying versus moving and made the best decision we could. Our jobs in D.C. gave us opportunities to excel, yet they took something away – good friends and a city where we felt at home walking down the street. Maybe we’ll move back some day when opportunities present themselves in New York, or when we place different values on professional advancement and place.
Be honest with yourself about what you value most. Fulfillment comes in many forms.