Where should I start over (in life)?
posted by necessitas to human relations (48 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I am just coming out of a long term relationship. I don't have very many friends (and the ones I do are scattered around the country). I've spent the past y years moving around quite a bit, so I don't have a support system in any one particular area. So I am pretty much figuring out how to start over from scratch, with almost no support system and no real direction. My family have all moved away from the city and state in which I grew up (Miami, FL), so "moving back home" isn't an option, either. I don't have many friends, but the few I do have are all married, settled into their lives and scattered around the country. I didn't put down any roots in the area where I lived for the past 3 years (the whole boyfriend-is-my-life thing, I'm ashamed to admit), so staying in that area isn't an option (not to mention the fact that it is dull, near-rural with cow pastures as far as the eye can see).
If you were in your early 30's and feeling sort of unanchored, where would you go to start over? I am looking for a place that does have interesting culture and nightlife, something more affordable than LA or NY and a place where it would be easy to meet new people as an early 30's transplant. I prefer city to suburba, but I guess I wouldn't really mind if I lived in an interesting suburban area with lots going on. My dream area is somewhere with good public transportation (I realize that almost every area in the country has public transportation, but it isn't really used as a preferred mode of transport in most places) and/or plenty of things in walking distance so I could walk to coffee shops, bars, etc. My dream city is actually London, however, since I am a US citizen, that isn't even an option (not to mention cost of living).
Some options are NOVA/DC area or Phoenix. The Northern Virginia area is where my mother now lives. However, I have never heard great things about the area. People are constantly saying that it is a transient area, hard to meet people, etc. I don't know if this is reality or not (for the record, it is where I am staying at the moment while I figure out my next move). My sister lives in Phoenix and likes it. I don't know if it is the place for me or not, I really don't know much about it.
I like interesting cities like Portland, OR and Asheville, NC, but I'm not sure either cities are ideal to live in. I must admit, one of the main reasons I am hesitant about Portland is due to all the discouraging responses I've read here on AskMe about moving to portland. Asheville, while I love it, seems like a better place to visit than live.
Some specifics: early 30's, single, female. I don't really have much of an established career. I used to have a career in market research, but I haven't done much with it in the past 5 years. I presently have a fledgling business, but working for yourself is a bit isolating so I am afraid I will have to give that up for a 9-5 in order to fit into a new area. If that is the case, I will need to move to an area where I will be able to find a job (another fear about portland). For fun, I like yoga, shopping, museums, bookstores, nightlife . . . that sort of thing. I like some outdoorsy/adventure/nature type activities, but not on a daily basis.
I am not a "joiner" or an outgoing person, but I realize that new friends aren't going to fall from the sky. Thus, my new location would have to have lots of opportunities for me to meet other people in their 30s, as opposed to plenty of opportunities for new college grads, people in their early-mid 20s to meet other people. Additionally, in this area, early 30's and single needs to be the norm. So, Salt Lake City is out (not that it was ever an option to begin with, I am not LDS). For the past 3 years, I lived in lancaster where people get married and start having famlies either right out of high school or right out of college. Nothing wrong with it, but it will makes it hard to meet other like-minded friends/dates. Finally, I neither belong to nor plan to join a religious organization, so I won't be meeting people through church/temple/mosque.
Ok, so now you have all the specifics, where should I start over from scratch. Also, I am feeling a bit like an alien, in my thirties with few friends, no support system and totally not "established," so if you have experienced this as well, anecdotes are welcome.