I know that just about everyone that has ever known me will probably call me crazy for this post and they may very well be right but here it goes…I kind of think I want to stay in Florida.
Gasp! I know.
I’ve never really wanted to stay in Florida and I’m wanted to move away since I first moved here in 1986 but you know…things change. What brought this on? Well, yesterday I was talking with my husband and we both admitted that we kind of want a baby. We want to have our own family but we don’t want to move our family around a lot. We want to be settled in a place. That got me thinking and we came up with a list of places we would consider moving like metro Atlanta, Ga or Knoxville, TN or Santa Fe, NM or another place in the northern part of Florida. That got me researching and looking around and they all have pros and cons. I listed the pros and cons of each place and narrowed it down to my top two places. Then I decided that perhaps I should narrow down the pros and cons of staying where we are. Do you know what I discovered? There are a hell of a lot of pros to being here. There are pros like:
1. I’ve lived here almost my whole life. I know this place really well. I know the good neighborhoods and the not-so-good neighborhoods. I know which doctor’s are good, which hospital is best, where the cops hide and try to catch you speeding (I know…shouldn’t be speeding anyway), I know which little restaurants are hidden gems and which bars are super dirty. I know this town and I’m comfortable here. Sure, not all of my memories of this place are great, in fact, some are really bad, but there are going to be good times and bad times everywhere.
2. We have baseball! Now, this isn’t exactly a perk for my husband because baseball is actually #4 or #5 on his favorite sports list and really isn’t a game he loves. He loves basketball and we don’t have basketball here but we do have baseball. We have spring training baseball and we have minor league baseball. That’s pretty awesome to me. In fact, baseball played its first spring training game of the year today. It’s great! When (if…) we have kids they can go to the ballpark with me. I can get seats in the grass, they can run around and chase foul balls and try to get autographs and learn sportsmanship. The ballpark is about 20 minutes. That’s pretty great.
3. Tampa is only 1.5 hours away. Tampa has a major international airport, pro baseball, pro football, pro hockey, a major water park, a major amusement park, at least two really incredible downtown club/party spots, great restaurants, theatres, concerts, and a major cruise port. Did I mention it’s only 1.5 hours away? It’s actually a little less than 1.5 hours away. It’s very close and accessible without meaning that I have to live in the middle of it. I kind of love that.
4. Orlando is less than 3 hours away. Orlando has a major international airport, pro basketball, major theatres and concerts, Sea World, Aquatica, Disney World, MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk, Wet & Wild, International Drive, and on…and on…and on…and it’s close and accessible. Plus, it’s really fabulous for a weekend away without having to worry about paying the extra expense for airfare. My kids want to go to Disney World? No problem. It’s an easy drive away. Me and my husband want to sneak away for a wild CityWalk weekend and a basketball game? We can do it and it won’t cost an arm and a leg.
5. All those attractions? I can get great deals! I work for my local government and I have a pretty good job with them. One major perk is that I get major deals on a whole ton of stuff, including tickets for Disney World and all of those other places. It’s actually pretty amazing. There’s a website I can go to and enter my employer/employee information and BOOM! Amazing prices. That, and a Florida Resident discount makes those trips and places even more affordable.
6. The job perks don’t stop there. I have really great full-coverage insurance, a retirement plan, education incentives and other health perks. It’s secure and I get paid fairly well. I’m also in-line right now for a big promotion to manage the departments in the relatively near future when the current manager retires. It’s kind of a big deal for me and would mean really good things for my family. If we moved away from here I would have to find something comparable or accept that I would have to take something average and try to prove myself all over again.
7. The climate is incredible. Yeah, I bitch and complain about the constant sun/heat but then I have to sit back and seriously think about snow. The northern states were recently slammed by a snowstorm that had snow piled up over their front doors. I don’t want that. I don’t want that at all. It’s freezing and exhausting to clear. It can cause car troubles, and frozen water pipes, and roof problems and cabin fever. That sounds pretty miserable. Sure, I’ve missed it because I’ve lived down here for so long that I’ve missed seeing seasons and changes. The thing is now though that my parents and family live / are moving back up north to West Virginia which means that I’ll have all the snow/weather available if I really want it. All it would take is a week’s vacation to see my family during the winter and I’m sure I could get my fix of winter weather. Then I could come back home to the beach which, down here, is available to me year-round.
8. Florida is actually a great place to raise kids; especially since I know this state so well. Within three hours I have access to amusement parks, airports, cruise lines, zoos, aquariums, museums, history, and parks. We have a space station on the other coast and we have aquatic science and biology right here in town. I do have some really fun memories of growing up in Florida.
Do I want to start over somewhere else? Some place that I don’t know really well? I can research all that I want to online but it’s not the same until you actually get there. Then, what if we hate it? What do we do? Move again? That’s an unpleasant thought.
So then, maybe we stay. Maybe we stay here and we enjoy the beach and the perks and I take the promotion at work and we have our family and, when I’m craving a season-change, we take a week off, but a plane ticket, and take a vacation.