Recently, T and I decided that our family needed a change of scenery compliment our career changes. So now, as I leave the law behind, I’ll also be leaving New York City behind. I am very excited about this new move and the opportunities it is going to open up for our family. Mostly, I’m excited to leave behind the sights, sounds and smells of the setting where I experienced my worst incidents of depression, and literally put that period of my life in my rear view mirror. I also think that the Tampa Bay Area will open up amazing opportunities for me to pursue new hobbies, meet new people, and develop new content for you.
So why is this peek into my personal life relevant? Because anything I do to redesign my life after law is relevant to you. I hope it will give you ideas that you may not have had otherwise, give you insight into my thought process, and give you the courage to change your circumstances.
1. Tampa seems like a great location for business-as I transition from a salary/bonus position in a law firm to self employment on-line, I want to get the most bang for my buck. The cost of living is about forty percent lower in Tampa than in New York, so it’s like I’m getting an additional 40% check for every $100K I have in savings. That will provide a lot more financial security as I get up and running. Also, since I’m self employed and my business is global, I’m not tied to the local economy and not restricted to the local pay scale, so I can earn the same number of dollars as in New York, but then spend them down here. It’s a win-win.
2. Tampa has great schools and a great infrastructure—as a dad with two special-needs kids, it was very important to me that they have the best education this country has to offer. They are currently getting that in New York. One of the things that attracted us to Tampa, over the other alternatives we looked at were that it has great schools, even with lower taxes. Tampa also has well maintained highways, bridges, libraries, museums, and all of the other things that make a city live able on a day to day basis. I know I’ll be spending more time in my car and more time in traffic, but considering how unreliable the subway has become, it seems like a decent trade off.
3. I think living in Tampa will improve my quality of life—I hope the year-round sunshine will help keep my depression
in remission. The warmer weather should give me and my family a chance to spend more time outside and pursue a greater variety of outdoor activities year-round. Also, life seems to move at a slower pace here. People seem more casually friendly. They also seem more laid back. I saw it most in how employees in stores and restaurants smiled whenever I approached them, and most of all, in how people drive around here. Unlike in New York, people here normally wanted to let me by rather than cut me off. It made me feel a lot calmer and more secure on the road.
First, I need a change of pace. I love New York and have many happy memories there with my family. New York did not cause my depression, but in my mind, New York, as the setting where my lowest and darkest periods took place, is directly linked with feeling depressed and feeling sick. I need a fresh start; a physical change of scenery as a visual metaphor for sloughing off my darkest memories and leaving the past behind for a literally brighter future in the Sunshine State.
Second, because I can. Despite my natural aversion to risk, and any lingering depressive symptoms I may have, I know that I have, after working hard as an attorney for 16 years, earned the right and the resources to make this change. I do not want fear and depression to keep me stuck in the mud and prevent me from taking control and making positive changes in my life. For a long time, depression was in the driver’s seat. Though it’s taking a bit of shoulder to the wheel, now I have taken back control and am driving the course of my life.
How will I do it?
I flew down this past weekend to house hunt, and after two days of looking found a place in northern Tampa that I think will be perfect for my family. I hope to get a lease signed by the middle of this week, and be ready to move in on December 1. That gives me a month to get the utilities switched over, register my kids in school, get a new car (because we can’t be a one car family anymore) and move my family down. That’s about it. As big a change as it seems, it’s actually a pretty straightforward process when you break it down into its component parts.
What are My Hopes and Dreams for My New Life?
I hope to be happy and healthy, I hope my kids thrive, I hope that my new environment creates a wellspring for new ideas to drive new content for you, so that this site can grow. I hope that my depression goes into remission now and for all time. I don’t care if I ever become a millionaire at this point and I don’t need to win any awards. Having spent the majority of the past year in some dark and dangerous places, it is enough for me to be out in the light, healthy, alive, enjoying every day, loving my wife, enjoying my marriage, and helping my kids grow up to be happy, capable adults with the whole world laying before them so that they can make the lives they want straight out of the gate.