By senior year of college, you have to start thinking about where you want to go and where you are going to work. Most of the time, wherever you get a job dictates where you live, but in a lot of cases, individuals want to live in a specific place and then look for jobs in close proximity. During the time college was wrapping up for me, I didn’t know where I wanted to live. I was from a small town in Massachusetts, I was going to a small school in New Hampshire and a good majority of my friends were looking to move off into the big city. Did that really fit where I came from and what I wanted?! I went to a small school on purpose, I was not about to go try city living for the first time after college, but that is exactly what a lot of people I know did.
It’s funny because when you don’t have a job right away you want to go where you think the jobs are; bigger cities. I had roommates and friends packing up their apartments and heading to either Boston, New York or another major east coast city, to an apartment where all of their stuff fitting was questionable. They had luckily found jobs, mostly in sales (since most of my college friends were Business majors) and the promise of high base salaries with large commissions were attracting them to confined city spaces. Heck, I wanted a big salary and a chance to move up the corporate ladder, but did the thing about confined spaces sound like a good idea to me? Bird’s got to spread its wings right?!
So in the end, I decided staying in New Hampshire was the right fit for me. I wasn’t going to be making the money that others could make in the bigger cities, but I also wasn’t going to be paying more than twice my current rent for more than half the square footage with no yard! Salary and cost of living are all relative no matter where you live, so to me, I was right where I wanted and needed to be. Even working in Manchester, doesn’t have that big city feel. If you are high enough in a building you can still see some mountains, or at least some wooded areas. You can work with people who have the same idea for a weekend plan of skiing, hiking, biking, or swimming. In New Hampshire, everywhere can be an outdoor enthusiasts playground. When it comes to the east coast, and New England in particular there is so much beauty outside of the city limits and certainly plenty of opportunity for a young professional looking for quality of life and a great place to work. I feel so lucky to live and work where I do.
I will end with one last story, and hope that all my city-living friends maybe feel a little jealous, with no offense. Recently, I had some friends drive up from Boston to ski with Lindsay and I. This is something we did with these folks all throughout college, when it was an easy ride north to Loon or Waterville. But for them, now, they pack up their car with gear and clothes for a weekend, drive two hours or more hours north in traffic, and be lucky enough to get out on the mountain and gawk and the beauty that surrounds them up north. Something that they can’t see from below sky-scrapers, or on public transportation. When I step back and look at how happy they are to be there, I think of how happy I am to live there, to always know what it’s like to smell fresh air, and to be able to walk out my front door to it all.