I moved back to Montana. Shocking, I know.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you most likely know that I loved the city — that’s where I dreamt about living for years.
After a few years living and working in Austin, TX, things started to shift my life. As there are a lot of pros being in a city, there are a lot of cons. For instance, fighting traffic every day, dealing with crazy matters you never thought you would have to, and constantly stressing about the little things.
Don’t worry, I will share the good and the bad of this decision. But all in all, it wasn’t worth the anxiety I was facing at that time. I made the decision to pack up all my belongings, put everything in storage, and part ways until I decide what I truly want to do. Here’s what lead me to this decision.
The cons of choosing skyscrapers over mountains
There are always trade offs — nothing’s perfect. Picking your poison can be hard when it comes to making a living decision. If you’re thinking about moving to a city, or moving to a mountain town, this may help you come to a conclusion. And if you’re just along for the ride, welcome! Happy to have you here. 🙂
Traffic. Constantly fighting traffic.
30 minutes in traffic? No worries. 45 minutes in traffic? Kinda steep. 60 minutes? Sad, but you have to do what you have to do. Reasonably so, high traffic increases the time you’re spent in the car and decreases the time you could be spending on other things.
Thankfully, I was able to work from home long term. But, before the “vid,” I was spending 30 minutes to an hour in the car morning and night just traveling to and from work. Not to mention, if you wanted to go to the gym, grocery store, or anything else for that matter. Most of the time, I chose to push off errands or avoid working on my physical health because I didn’t have time with traffic.
High cost of pretty much everything
When I moved to Austin in 2019, price wasn’t that bad of an issue. There were a lot of expenses that came with moving that made things tight, but it wasn’t that bad. But now? Holy smokes. Where do I start with the inflation over the year. My rent tripled at the end of my lease term. Honestly, if you’re in your mid-twenties and aren’t making at least 6 figures, I would not recommend going to a city and making it without roommates or other financial support.
You’re routinely paying high prices for rent, gas, groceries, and everything else that you need in your life. Not to mention, when you’re in a city you want to go out and enjoy it. Going out with friends easily costs a minimum of $100 per night — Uber’s, drinks, food, etc.
A fast-paced, busy, and distracted lifestyle
This could have easily just been me, but I was constantly overstimulated and distracted from the things that brought me joy. I love working out, investing in my health, getting enough sleep, and working on my side-hustle passion projects. When you’re compared to the “city standard” of 20 somethings living in a city, it’s hard to balance it all.
When you’re in your 20’s, most people like you are having the time of their lives out in the city drinking, meeting new people, and going on crazy adventures. While that works for some, that is not what makes me happy. I would rather wake up early, workout, eat a healthy breakfast, and drink yummy coffee to kick-start my productive day. That was really hard to do while balancing a ~somewhat~ social life.
…& the pros of choosing skyscrapers over mountains
Now, there are many pros to living in a city as well. For instance, expanding your career and meeting successful people. The possibilities in a city, career wise are endless. You’re able to work up the corporate ladder, create your own career, make good money, and be surrounded by successful people that want to do the same things career wise. But that’s not all.
Great career opportunities
Like I said, you’re able to earn a successful career. I say “earn” because it still isn’t easy. You’re going to have to work hard, prove yourself, constantly put yourself out there, and probably fail a lot to make it where you want to be.
You may be working more hours than the average American, but, you could make more than the average American. And, you’ll most likely need it to pay for your overpriced apartment, groceries, gas, insurance, etc. You may get stuck in the cycle of needing your corporate job vs. wanting it.
Accessibility at your fingertips
Everything and anything you’ve ever wanted is most likely right at your fingertips. Want a Tesla? They have a store in Austin. Want to get new gym shoes? They have multiple stores all over the place (including outlet stores) for you to find your perfect pair. Or, maybe you don’t want to go out and get something, you have delivery services and Amazon that delivers the next day if not the same day.
Being able to get what you want/need immediately can be a pro or con depending on how you look at it. You may go shopping more than normal because you have material items for sale everywhere you look, or save time by having everything delivered vs going out and getting it yourself.
Surrounded by fellow “youngins”
This could be just my experience, but I felt as if there were a lot of youngins just like me in Austin, TX. All of us were right out of college or mid to late twenties where you’re trying to figure it out.
This makes such a difference for various reasons — societal pressures (dating, marriage, etc.), figuring out your career, etc. Coming back to a small town makes me feel as if I am behind on life. Many of the friends I have in my hometown are married, in serious relationships, or married with kids. It has nothing to do with them or their life goals, but it makes me feel as if I’m behind in life, even though I am not, just going at my own pace and there is nothing wrong with that.
Even though living in a city is such a great experience, it can change your life, for the good or bad. In my experience, after living in a city for three years, I needed to take a break. I needed to be in the mountains with a slower pace of life. Where I am able to stress less and live a little more. As far as I know, I will be back in a city one day, but you never really know what will happen until the decision is executed.