It comes to this: the rent is too damn high.
New York City is more expensive than it's worth. Unless you are an actual rich person, living in the city is like throwing money in a hole, taking a shit on it, and then setting the shit-currency pile ablaze. As my friend Alicia sometimes says, "I don't want to spend my life in a city where $1 million makes you middle class."
And after six years, the allure of dwelling in The Most Important Place On Earth has dulled considerably. To quote my cousin Stephanie, "New York is the best place in the world to spend your twenties." I'm 31. My extended adolescence is over. I want to own a house, or at least an apartment, get some savings together, maybe even land me one of them husbands and grow a human parasite inside my undercarriage (eventually expelling it and raising it). It's getting close to movin' time.
I'm on a book tour, so it seems an ideal time to audition other cities. Bear in mind that as a freelance writer, I can kinda move anywhere as long as I'm willing to hustle and churn out the writingses. Same thing is true for web video, blogging, etc. And I can always pick up a day job of some sort if necessary, particularly for health insurance purposes (hi, Prozac!) Let's look at the likeliest candidates. I'd really appreciate your input in the comments.
1. UPSTATE NEW YORK
Not technically a city, but a loosely-defined region that basically means "Not in New York City or on Long Island." Julieanne lives in this area and she seems to like it very much. It's quieter and more affordable than NYC, plus it's prettier and you can schlep back into Manhattan for a job or a meeting or whatever if you need to.
On the downside, the winters are fucking cold and I don't have many friends up here. But I bet I could make some like-minded buddies in Hudson or Beacon or wherever. It'd probably be pretty lonely until I did, though.
2. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
I like doing comedy for fun and sometimes for profit. I'd like to write for TV and film, and this is unquestionably the best place to do that. I have many friends here, and they seem to have nice enough lives. In many areas, it smells like flowers all the time. You've got the ocean and the mountains and the desert.
On the downside, it seems like everyone you run into works in film or television, and even the people who don't are absurdly attractive. L.A. is where all the best-looking people from every high school in America move to become staaaahz. That's kind of obnoxious. The rent is still better than in NYC, but the traffic is horrendous. And I'd have to learn to parallel-park, which is terrifying and freaky in the extreme.
The smog is gross and when I go to L.A., I enjoy it but it doesn't feel like home. It doesn't feel like me. Then again, neither does New York City, and I've been there for six years.
BONUS KNOWLEDGE: I just got into grad school in Long Beach (MFA in writing; an hour from Los Angeles. I want to have the option of teaching writing at the college level, and I need an MFA for that, apparently. Should I go? I dunno. You tell me.)
3. ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
Didn't see this one coming, did you? Or maybe you did – Asheville is one of those places, like Austin and Portland, where ultra-liberal slightly hippie-ish white chicks with too many degrees often settle in order to nest with a bearded dude (or boyish lady) and maybe have a baby who they dress exclusively in hand-woven organic cotton things purchased from Etsy.
I say this with a mocking tone, yet it is a life I often crave. I could rent or maybe even buy (one day) a little house and decorate it with stained glass objects I find at the local flea market. I could have a backyard. I could have chickens! I don't want chickens, but that's not the point. I could have them.
I went to school here and I have some old friends here. It's a lovely place, and the springtimes are the most glorious springtimes I've ever seen. Asheville feels like home to me.
On the downside, it's a bit isolated, the culture shock would be intense, it's entirely possible to overdose on hippies, and I could kiss any comedy career goodbye (aside from the aforementioned Internet stuff.) In one of the aforementioned places I could at least commute to auditions and to do TV pundit-type spots. Not in Asheville. I'd have to make the choice to end one particular chapter of my career and exclusively focus on another – namely, writing.
Plus, I lived in Asheville for two years. My memories of it are frozen in time from my early twenties. Sure, I've visited in the intervening years, but a visit isn't the same as a long-term stay. Maybe I'd get bored.
4. SOMEWHERE ELSE, USA/THE WORLD
You pick! I'm an impulsive gal, and I trust your judgment better than my own sometimes.
Okay, you have your options. GO! Go, ladies, gooooo!