- Patrick Hulce
I have always loved living in California. The weather is amazing, with sunny days and mild temperatures year-round. The proximity to the ocean, Yosemite, Tahoe, and other amazing natural wonders is a major benefit. And, as someone working in the tech industry, the career opportunities here are simply unparalleled. Plus, you know, the state is not trying to put kids in cages like certain other governments.
But, as much as I love it here, the future of living in California terrifies me.
The cost of living in California, and especially in Silicon Valley, is one of the biggest drawbacks. The housing market is incredibly competitive, and even a tiny house that is close enough to the South Bay tech hubs for an easy commute easily costs over $2 million. This is an astronomical amount of money, and the high cost of living doesn't just stop at housing. Groceries, gas, labor, and other essentials are also significantly more expensive than in other parts of the country. This would mean being under constant financial pressure for the rest of our lives, even with a very successful career.
It's not just the dollar cost of living either, the time cost is higher too! Traffic and population density means everything takes longer. Getting gas at Costco is a 1+ hour endeavor with more than 100 cars waiting in line. Dealing with unnecessary constant worry from time and financial pressure is a tough pill to swallow, especially with the other factors that make it difficult to envision a long-term future here.
Furthermore, the distance from my family is a major concern. Most of my wife's and my family is back in Memphis, Tennessee. With zero direct flights and a 2-hour time difference, going home is a massive undertaking and would be a nightmare with kids.
The lifestyle in California is also a stark contrast to what I grew up with in Tennessee and what I imagined raising kids in. Cold summer nights (what!?), a general lack of warmth and friendliness among strangers, and a substrate of anxiety to achieve make it hard to envision a long-term future here.
It's been a long time coming, but my wife and I have decided to move to Dallas, Texas. It offers a lower cost of living, a still diverse population, big city amenities / attractions (yay sports!), and closer proximity to our families. Although it may not have the same career opportunities as Silicon Valley, we believe it's the best decision for our family's future. It's a difficult decision to leave behind the place that we've loved to called home for the past 4 years, but sometimes the best decisions are the hardest ones to make.