Dearest my frozen and cold New Yorkers. I miss you all. I truly do. I can barely see you through the thin layer of ice and snow that has enveloped your shivering bodies despite the layers of triple goose, plaid scarves and faux fur you’re wearing. But don’t worry – warm weather is only 6-7 months away! You will get through this like you always do. You will survive.
The question is though – why do you feel like you have to? Is surviving cold winters a badge of honor? There are no participation medals given for your suffering through negative temperatures, 3 hour commutes (which should normally be less than 1 hour) or getting into work despite arctic conditions. And most warm cities are cheaper than New York City! So you’re paying a premium for misery! I would love to hear the last time somebody got a raise because they made it into work during a snowstorm. “You’re here Jim? Instant bonus!”
I remember winters in New York City and I am so happy they are a distant memory. There was a 3-4 day stretch in January 2015 where the weather in New York City dropped to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn’t leave my apartment for 3 days straight. Every meal I ate was delivered from Seamless (I tipped my deliverypeople handsomely). My poor dogs wanted to go outside but they were forced to pee and poop on their pee pads indoors (in my defense, I tried to take my dogs outside but as soon as they felt the cold, they quickly U-turned inside). When you’re home for 72 hours straight, you end up playing a lot of video games and talking to people on Facebook. That’s when I messaged my friend Yuri who was living in Los Angeles and unknowingly sealed my fate as a traitor to New York City (something I never could have imagined happening in my 20s – I LOVED New York).
When I made the decision to leave New York City, I was making a ton of money in ad tech sales (a majority of which came from nights out until 4 am crushing fireball shots). I knew leaving New York City would mean that I would be sacrificing significant future income, but it was still an easy decision. I would be gaining a different kind of wealth, currencies that we as a society tend to overlook: happiness, health & time. New Yorkers are way too stressed. We all have reasons to stay where we are, and for me, the money I was making would have convinced most people to stay in place, but there is more to life than making money.
Life is too short to spend time in a place you don’t really want to be while you dream of places you’d rather be.
I look across my Facebook and Instagram feeds today, and many of you are posting #tbt pictures of warm vacations you went on in the past as a reminder to yourself and others of where you really want to be. In my opinion, it’s where you deserve to be. If you aren’t posting pics of warm vacations you went on, many of you are looking forward to the moment that you can hop on a plane for a short flight down to the Caribbean, Mexico or Florida (but not Thailand because you’re limited by “vacation days” – I remember having those).
I get it. I was once one of you. But realize, life is too short to spend time in a place you don’t really want to be while you dream of places you’d rather be. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “one day I’ll retire someplace warm so I never have to deal with snow again.” How about this thought instead…
Take a step back, evaluate your skillset, and realize that you can cut out the middle man with a little career creativity. I define the “middle man” as : the time between the moment you realize where you want to be and the time you believe you must spend to get there. At 31 it hit me…I had to live someplace warm but I believed I would have to wait until I was retired at 65 to live on a beach. By moving to Los Angeles at 32 and now Thailand at 35, I got to where I saw myself retiring 30 years before I was “supposed to.” I type this as I sit on the beaches of Hua Hin, sipping fresh coconut juice while getting a coconut oil Thai massage on my beach chair.
Now I understand some of you really like the cold. You prefer it actually. If that’s the case, then this blog post does not refer to you. You’re happy with cold weather because you like skiing, snowboarding or winter fashion (because you think it looks cute). You belong in New York City, Boston, or wherever else it gets cold. The cold is like mushrooms to me, I don’t understand how people can like them.
I noticed a theme – people from New York City who move to Los Angeles rarely move back, but people from Los Angeles who move to New York City almost always move back.
Then there’s another segment of you. People who grew up in warm places like Los Angeles, Miami or Bangkok and you wanted to move the big city to try something new and challenge yourself to see if you can make it. This blog post also does not refer to you. I strongly encourage people to push themselves out of their comfort zone. After 4 winters though, you’ll realize “why am I doing this to myself”? I noticed a theme – people from New York who move to Los Angeles rarely move back, but people from Los Angeles who move to New York almost always move back.
Then there’s another segment of you that this blog post does not refer to…those that have already traveled the world, lived in many different cities and said, “You know what, New York City is for me. Despite all those terrible winters, the overburdened subway system, the career-first, money-hungry mentality, the constant anxiety, the insanely expensive lifestyle, this is where I want to be.” You’ve explored the world and made an educated decision on where to settle down. Cold weather and snowstorms are just part of the deal.
But for those of you that do not like winters, the cold or the snow, and have never lived anywhere else, you can do something about it. You can move. You know what the best part about moving away is? You can always move back.
Life without winter is even better in execution than in concept
Ask your job to transfer you to a warm climate. Do a month-to-month apartment rental from AirBnB. Get a storage unit in New York City and leave most of your stuff there if you’re not ready to go all-in. You can both escape the cold and simultaneously challenge yourself by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone living in a new city. The worst thing that happens is you don’t like the move and you move back. The best thing that happens? You realize life without winter is even better in execution than in concept, you become more worldly and maybe even discover a happier and better lifestyle for yourself. Yolo! Someone recently told me, “if we weren’t meant to travel, we’d have roots instead of feet.” So use your feet and go plant new roots somewhere warm.
See you on the beaches of Hua Hin!
I would love to hear what you think. If you have any questions about moving cross-country or to a different country, you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.
Be Free My Sheeple.