Why I Moved to a Small City After Living in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City & Chicago

I moved to a small city in southeast Wisconsin because I wanted a place to live that was close to family, close to nature, and affordable. I value natural beauty, financial independence, and proximity to family. I currently don’t care as much about shopping, dining out, in-person job opportunities, and nightlife. It’s the “30 years old, recently married, lucky enough to be able to work remote, depressed by the real estate prices in [choose your big city]” change that lots of people go through. Here’s how it all went down. 

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Summer Camp and Petty Crime in Prospect Park

During the summer, my local park turns into one massive summer camp. The baseball camp bleeds into the lacrosse camp bleeds into the Harry Potter camp bleeds into Percy Jackson Camp bleeds into the toddlers who pick at the grass and do singalongs bleeds into the Orthodox Jewish toddlers who pick and grass and do Orthodox Jewish singalongs.

Usually, I do my best to ignore them all as I take my daily walk, but one day last August I felt compelled to stop and watch an event that was unfolding on the main lawn.

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Brooklyn Weirdos

The dogs in my Brooklyn neighborhood have it good. Birdie, Phoebe, Izzy, Charlie, Shady, Bluey, Ricky, Lacey, and even the dogs with names that don’t have an “e” sound at the end, are all treated like royalty.

They are free to roam off-leash almost every morning. Their perfectly groomed coats glisten in the sun as they accept fancy treats that their owner’s produce out of elaborate fanny packs.  They are even talked to like they have human-level intelligence. 

“Do you think you’ll want more water in a few minutes, Phoebe? Should we circle back to the water fountain later, after we play with your friend Charlie? Just let me know.” 

If these dogs are to be treated like they have critical thinking skills, fine. If they are going to have more expensive haircuts, better dental care, and wear nicer clothes than me, that’s cool, too. They just can’t also be allowed to pee on me. 

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How Ancient Wisdom Can Help Us Deal With Haters

Like most everyone, I once waged a battle against a force as relentless, punishing and timeless as waves crashing on the beach: kids being dicks to each other.

Here’s a quick recap of my life up until age 16, with a focus on what would become the major annoyance of my youth: my high voice making me feel inadequate on the basketball court. 

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The Pros and Cons of Exercising in Public

I haven’t spent much time working out in gyms these past 6 years. This is probably because, in my brain, gym time = a large human telling me I’m a piece of shit unless I exceed my one rep max on the bench press like, right this fucking second.

One particularly bad lifting memory comes from my junior year of college. I was supposed to be doing some pull-ups with a weight vest on. Instead, I was staring into the distance. Someone from the baseball team snapped me out of it by asking if I was okay.

Instead of saying “yep!” like I normally would, I talked about a holocaust survivor I had just read about.

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Getting Over the Stigma of Making “Rash” Decisions

Back in June of 2015, I thought that I was going to be in Los Angeles for the rest of my life. My goal was to be a TV writer. Where else would I go? Why would I leave?

Within a month, I had answered those questions. I would go to Wisconsin, and I would leave because my priorities changed. I was fully committed to living simply, tending my future homestead and eating delicious cheese. There, in the spacious, affordable Midwest, I would stake my claim.

Not quite. After 6 months in the Badger State, my bags were packed and I was off to NYC. By this point, I was no longer sure where I would spend the rest of my life, but I figured I’d be there for at least a year. Two months later, I was on a flight to San Francisco to make my new home in the Bay Area.

A week after that, I had left SF and was traveling the streets of Sri Lanka, determined to make it as an amateur snake charmer. That’s not true, but there are people in my life who wouldn’t have been surprised.

I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned amidst all this moving. I thought I would jot down some thoughts.

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