inspiration

Why Connecticut

This is the follow-up to last week’s post announcing our move to Connecticut…. today I’m sharing Why Connecticut.
I was talking to my mom on the phone this weekend, not even 48 hours since we moved, and she asked, “Does it feel weird?” As in, does it feel weird not being in NYC anymore. “Actually it feels kind of normal.”
When I was a junior at Georgetown, I just had this gut feeling that I should move to New York when I graduated. I’m really glad I did. I think if anyone has the inclination to move to NYC you should. I don’t think it’s something you can forget about until you actually accomplish it. Who knows what you’re experience will be when you get there, but it’s always worth a shot. 
That said, I figured out pretty quickly that I loved working in the city and did not love living in the city. Yes, there are many convenient things about New York life– but for every one convenience there are two inconveniences. I think the conveniences are there to kind of distract you from the fact that there’s a challenge around every corner. Taxi cabs seemingly everywhere (except 4pm), but delayed subways and a packed platform during rush hour. 24 hour food delivery for anything you’re craving, but grocery stores that take four tons of patience to wind through– and you can only buy what you can carry! The best shopping, but the highest rents for the tiniest of apartments.
For a while, I think I was adapting to this city life. I wasn’t adapting in a way that would lead to some moment where it eventually fit… instead, I was making adaptations to my everyday life to fit into this city system that felt a little foreign to me. And all for what? To say I lived there? To stick to a plan I came up with as a 20 year old? To prove to someone, anyone, that I was successful– that I could do it? It was like running through the motions and checking things off a list without feeling truly fulfilled.
It didn’t matter how I rearranged my apartment, it always felt a little dim. It didn’t matter how many times I walked in Central Park, I still felt overwhelmed by concrete. It didn’t matter how many opportunities I had, I still felt a little drained. It didn’t feel like real life.
I’m not the only one who thinks that, even some of my friends who grew up there have agreed. It’s a bubble where no one drives, where people spend all of their savings on a house share in the Hamptons for the summer, where it’s the status quo to be in the office until 10pm, where it’s normal to spend $40 to sweat out your stress (and real dedication if you do it twice a day). 
(People in NYC say you can spot a tourist easily by seeing who is looking up to the sky. Well, I actually think New Yorkers don’t look up because when they do they’re reminded of how many apartments are stacked on top of each other and crammed onto one city block. Hundreds of people living in one building… It freaks me out if I think about just how many people LIVE in the city.)
It doesn’t feel normal to me. 
Having gone to college in a metropolitan area (thankfully a smaller city than New York at least!), I left what I considered normal for this city life at 18. It took me a long time to adjust but I kind of got a hang of it. I wasn’t killing it by any means, but I was keeping my head above the water for sure. 
I started to feel this urge to “nest” when I turned 25. I think having a dog was a major part of it and perhaps even being in a serious relationship. Pretty much immediately, I knew that the pros of living in the city were being outweighed by the cons. 
Garrett and I started living together and we began thinking about where we’d end up. We both can kind of work anywhere, which is both a blessing and a curse. There’s nothing holding us in any one spot. The flexibility is incredible and also daunting. Should we spin a globe and point to a spot or cover our eyes and pin a place on the country and move there?
Last February we actually started looking pretty seriously into buying a house. We found this adorable cape style house in Rhode Island. After the tour with the real estate agent, we loaded back in our rented car and I bawled the whole way back to the city. A “normal life” felt tangible. I cried thinking about having a kitchen, having a car, having a backyard. I cried thinking about carrying groceries from the driveway to the counter, doing laundry without having to pay by the load… I just cried.
It was probably the point where I realized that I just didn’t want to live in New York anymore. We put in an offer on the house and were eventually outbid, which was crushing at the time but definitely a good thing in the long run.
Connecticut kept coming up again and again when discussing places to move. It’s really the perfect transition. This move still allows me to work in the city without having to live there. It’s under 50 minutes via train from our town to Grand Central Station (which, for comparison, is less time than it takes to get from the Upper East Side to the West Village on the weekend by subway). I’m currently trying to figure out how to schedule my meetings to match up with events so I’ll be commuting into the city two, three days max, a week. But it’s easily doable.
Houses in Connecticut are significantly more expensive than Rhode Island so we mutually decided that renting for a year was the best option. We don’t really know how the year will go and who knows if something comes up in the next 12 months that would have us move somewhere else. Plus having an extra year to save for a down payment is also helpful. Buying a house just doesn’t make the most financial sense from an investment standpoint at this moment in our lives.
Instead, we found an awesome one bedroom apartment that has an office (so excited to not work at a desk a foot away from my bed), a beautiful kitchen, and tons of natural light. We already knew people in the building and the neighborhood which was a warm welcome.
I bought a car last week. We discovered a great dog park close by where Teddy can play. Our pantries are stocked and home-cooked dinners have been made.
It’s been less than a week. We have no furniture and no internet yet and still, it feels like a world of a difference. I thought I’d feel a little emotional, but I really just feel like I can breathe. It feels normal.


xoxo
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55 Comments

Preppy Pink Crocodile

I'm so happy for you! I've read your blog since you started it and love seeing all the changes you've made. How fun to move to another new state! So proud of you!

xokk @preppycrocodile

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Phyllis Lee

I completely agree about how living in New York is different from working in New York. I loved the corporate-life-in-the-city thing, but trying to maintain a lifestyle in New York is very expensive. I'm so happy for you that you found a place that you can both love to live AND work in!

Phyllis | http://www.prettypleese.com

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Laura P

I'm so happy CT is feeling normal and comfortable for you! I've lived here all my life (minus the almost 4 years I've been in Boston at BC), and I love this state. It sounds like you're in a great area – I think it's a great place to be so you're removed from the city, but still have easy access to it. Can't wait to see what's in store for you 🙂
PS – If you need any recommendations of stuff to do/see in this wonderful little state, I'm happy to help!

Laura
fuelingalife.wordpress.com

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Dennis Vidal

I appreciate the opportunity to have my lunch at the Central Park actually. It's so relaxing being in the center of the NY and at the same time being surrounded by the trees, people on the grass, reading and chilling. Since I work at custom essay writing service I'm allowed to work but I don't because I enjoy my trips to the office. Sure I'm thankful to http://www.topessaywriting.net/custom-writing-service for this possibility anyways but staying at home during my working hours really decrease my productivity. I'm glad that you are happy on your new place!
Best regards.

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Shirley L

Carly, this was such a very personal piece to share with us. As always, I think it will help many people going through similar transitions in life. I admire you for going with intuition — moving to NY and then CT. I've visited NYC 8 times and CT for at least half that so I can totally understand all the pros and cons. Especially the grocery part! I still plan to move to NYC in a year or so, because as you've said, it's worth experiencing and finding out what it's like. Although I'm not from a town or suburb (so CT wouldn't work for me as a permanent situation), I do come from a smaller city (San Francisco). I've found it to be a happy medium (for me) — has the grit of city life but the easiness of town life. That's the beauty when you're surrounded by nature and there's a city ordinance preventing tall skyscraper buildings (minus downtown). I am sooooo happy you've found a new place to call home. Thank you for being so honest with us.

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lyon

This post resonated with me too. I lived in NYC for 9 years and loved working there but living there was tough when my heart was in New England (I'm originally from MA). Moved to Boston last summer and every day that I walk out of the office to the smell of the harbor and the New Englandihht makes me so happy. Total game changer. Glad you followed your instincts and ant wait to read more about what's next. 🙂

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Denise

Very well-written, Carly! Thank you for including us on this journey. While my husband was in the military, we lived in Connecticut for a while, and it was my favorite place that we were stationed. As a Mississippi native, the weather was surprising, but I was a newlywed and had my first professional job and everything was new for me. My fondest memories are that of living in Connecticut.

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Marisa Quinn Mieczkowski

I'm so happy for you I might cry! So happy you found a place that makes you feel normal and relieved! I could totally picture you in CT! Best of luck!
xo,
Marisa Quinn
prepinthemitten.blogspot.com

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Stephanie

I've been thinking a lot about the struggle in sticking to your original plan…for the sake of what? It's so important to understand what your (very personal) version of happiness and success looks like–and most importantly, knowing when it's time to change things up. Loved reading about your experience in making a decision that just feels *right*!

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Elizabeth Mata

I'm so happy for you Carly! I totally understand how "living" in the city can be overwhelming at times. I wish you, Garett, and Teddy the best on your new life adventure 🙂 Cheers to feeling normal!

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Kate Maccio

I completely agree with everything you've said here. I grew up in CT then moved to NYC for seven years during and after college. I always wanted to go but I just never fit it. I've been so much happier since returning home and my boyfriend and I will be doing the same commute from CT to NYC for work.
Check out Mystic, CT if you haven't already and Litchfield now that you have a car. It will make you love it here even more!

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Lynn-Holly Fisher Wielenga

I can definitely relate to this post! Especially the last two sentences. I recently told my husband, "I'm looking forward to when you're done with grad school, and we move somewhere that feels like home. I just feel like I can't really exhale here." When I said that, I wasn't sure if it made sense, because in a literal sense, I am breathing just fine, I just don't feel settled.
So thanks for sharing! I'm so glad you found somewhere you can breathe.

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Katherine

Good for you Carly! What you were saying about NYC definitely reminded me of a book I LOVED in high school, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. (I'm sure you've heard of it/read it!) In it, the main character, Gregor, is so caught up in living this urban life and trying to match up to these business goals that the landscape of the city (dingy, packed together, not home-y) just literally turns him into a "vermin". In the story, Gregor loses his identity in the grime of city life and the cold industrial, business environment. I'm happy for you that you got out to a space that felt better when you knew it was time. Good for you for trying something new and knowing yourself well enough to change what wasn't quite right. You definitely got out better than Gregor! 🙂

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Jess H

Carly, I'm SO happy for you! As a college student, reading about you and your life really helps me to figure out who I want to be and what I see myself doing. You're such a great role model and I'm so happy you found a place to call home 🙂

Putting the Chic in Chicago | puttingthechicinchicago.blogspot.com

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allyxstuart

Congratulations on your new home AND your new wheels! I know that some people would disagree, but I don't think a home feels like a home if the kitchen isn't conducive to cooking. There's really just something about being able to make nourishing, home-cooked food in a space that isn't cramped that makes a place really feel like home. I hope that you two have the very, very best time in your new place and can't wait to see photos when you get things settled! I bet Teddy LOVES the yard.

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Heather

It seems like you and Garrett have found the perfect transition and I'm so excited for you both! I've never lived in a big city (Charleston was the perfect size!) but I never realized all of the things that you would have to sacrifice to have that lifestyle. I can totally understand the whole "nesting" thing though since we just bought a house and it has been one of the most exciting times. Cooking dinners in my real kitchen that isn't the size of a closet has been the best, and almost therapeutic! As far as decorating, don't feel like you have to fill it up right away, I think it's worth taking time to find just the right pieces (plus, that way you're not spending every penny right when you move in!) but I'm sure you have already thought about that! 🙂 Congrats on everything, wishing you the best!

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Kathryn Wesson

First off, congrats on your new home! As a long time reader, it has been so amazing to watch your journey from college to post-grad and everything that's happened in between. This post and your post about the move really hit home for me, as my husband and I move around quite a bit for his job. I totally understand what you mean when you said that you felt like you could finally "breathe". It's definitely the little things that you keep pushing aside in your mind and compromising for that eventually just make you say you've had enough!

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Natasha Shah

Connecticut is my home state and I could not be happier that you're moving there. It really has so much to offer if you look below the surface. I just moved to Dubai this past December and white it's so exciting and dynamic there are certainly a few things I miss about CT. I can't wait to see how your journey pans out!

http://dreamingindubai.blogspot.ae/

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preppypinkpeonies

I am a new reader, but this post definitely stole my heart and now I am a committed reader. I am absolutely in love with your blogging voice and your blog itself. Absolutely inspiring that you have such a better "normal" feeling in CT. Congratulations on finding a place that feels so normal. That's something to celebrate!

Katrina,
https://preppypinkpeonies.wordpress.com/

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Shirley L

Blogging voice! Best way to put it. That's why I enjoy reading this blog so much. I'm not preppy at all so I come for the writing. 🙂

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Jen

As a city dweller myself I definitely can relate to the cons. But I do live in a much smaller city (Seattle) and I'd say the pros still outweigh the cons for me. The thought of having to drive everywhere, like the grocery store, just stresses me out! 🙂

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Alexa D'Angelo

I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying CT! I completely understand the wave of calmness and relief that can come over you when when you leave the city. I've lived right outside NYC my whole life. I always say I live in the best place because I have the view of the NYC skyline from my home (one of the most beautiful views in the world) and only a short commute into the city. If CT ends up not being what you've wanted I suggest taking a look along the NJ side of the Hudson River. You wont be disappointed! Best of Luck!!

http://thedarlingstandard.blogspot.com/

xoxo

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Mallory Ann

I can totally relate to this post and everything you said was the main reason I moved to LA. Needed the city with a bit more nature (oh and the weather).
City life is tough and just like you I craved a little bit more normality – even in LA so I got out of West Hollywood and into a more beachy neighborhood (with actual parking lots) and have never looked back! Best luck to you!!!

xx mal @ http://www.badwolfbrunch.com

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Liz Stolpovskaya

My boyfriend is from CT, and when visiting him this summer, I realized how peaceful life is there. Considering that it's 45 minutes away from NY, it's an amazing place to live. Glad for you 🙂

lizsellshells.com

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Melissa Tierney

Congrats! The city is fun to work in but living in it is tough…everyone needs a little R+R from the hustle and bustle!
xo,
Melissa
MissyOnMadison.com

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Navia

Congrats on the move!!! Living in different cities (even it its in the same state like I have) helps you grow as a person in a sense.

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aoinfinity

Hey Carly! Your sister is an old classmate of mine, and it's cool to see what all you've done since she first spoke of you in lecture one day. I'm glad you found a place where you can have the best of both worlds. After spending 3 summers in NYC, I started to realize what I enjoyed most about it had very little to do with work…which became first priority for most of my friends there. I still plan to visit periodically and will maybe even keep up the tradition of coming for summertime fun!

http://www.anayo-ordu.com

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Krystal // The Krystal Diaries

It's always exciting to have a new start. I totally understand the pros & cons of living in the city. I grew up in the boroughs but I live in the suburbs now.

And yes, we can definitely spot a tourist a mile away! lol

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Hilary

I completely know how you feel! I also remember crying on a flight back to NYC from Nashville and thinking about how badly I wanted to move to a less-hectic place. Eventually, we did and I am so much happier, and happy that I still had the opportunity to spend some time living in Manhattan! Best of luck with CT life!

http://cityteachercountryteacher.blogspot.com/

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Sylvia Dennis

So glad you guys are happy about the move! We are thinking of moving out of London as well it takes us 45 min to get to the centre even though we live central and we found beautiful houses to rent for 3 times cheaper with 45 min on the train … Im dying to have a house, a garden and enough space for my clothes 😉 that said Lewis might be getting a job offer in NYC … So might need your help on places to commute from as I don't think we would live in Manhattan … to be continued … haha

xo Sylvia
http://www.sylviassparkles.com

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Abby Ingwersen

Oh, Carly, this is such a beautiful post. Congratulations!

I've just moved to Paris… a city where I don't speak the language… and I suppose I'm at that stage in my life where cities seem to be magical, you know? This makes me curious as to how I'll feel ten years down the road… will I have picked up much French? What will my job be? Where will I be living?

All of this is irrelevant to you, of course! Apologies; just thinking out loud. Or in writing. 🙂

Once again, Congrats! I can't wait to see where you'll be in a year. Your blog is a favorite of mine. xo

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LCRush

Congratulations on the move Carly! So exciting and so much fun to have a blank canvas for decorating!

Your post was beautifully written and took me back to a few years ago when I felt EXACTLY the same way. Growing up in Orange County, CA and eventually moving to NYC was such a change and I eventually allowed myself to be okay with the idea that life didn't HAVE to be so difficult (after many pep talks from friends and family). Sure it was fun, but living in NYC is a whole different ballgame. And I remember thinking the exact same thing about NY'ers looking up and the living space – it still amazes me how many people are on that tiny island!

Some of my best friends still live in NY and I love to visit, but I couldn't be happier living somewhere else.

Good luck!

Laura | Surf & Hydrangeas

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Nicole Harris

I feel your dilemma. My career path (magazine journalism) pretty much requires me to live in NYC. While I do love it, I don't think I want to settle there for an extended period of time. I'm used to living in Midwestern suburban towns, so I need some sense of space and normalcy. Good luck in Connecticut! I hope you give updates 🙂

-Nicole
Meet Me in Midtown

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Erin

Carly…reading this was so comforting. I left NYC about a month ago to move back to my home state of North Carolina. Your words are EXACTLY how I would describe my experience. Living on this hamster wheel and wondering why you keep doing it if you aren't really happy…there's some invisible pressure to keep up with everyone else.

I admire you for following your heart and addressing your happiness head on. I'm back living with my boyfriend and it is SO nice to cook in a real kitchen again! Glad you're experiencing the same.

Cheers,

Erin

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Lauren

I just love the emotion behind this piece, and it's something that I feel like I can really relate to lately. Feeling like you're not quite living where your soul feels you should.

If you haven't read it before, you should ready "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner. It's all about happiness and how it's affected by where you live. The conclusion of the book is wonderful, and I think it captures just how you feel.

Congrats on the move, Carly! 🙂

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Taylor

Hi, I am new to your blog but when I read this post I instantly felt like you put words to some of the feelings I have sometimes about San Francisco, although it's not as big as NYC. I definitely feel that bubble starting to take shape and I don't know if I want to be a part of it or not. I hope that Connecticut is everything you are looking for!

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Off to New York City » Baubles & Brunch

[…] You guys know how much I love New England, so by living here I really feel like I am getting the best of both worlds! I will be inside the city pretty much every day during the week, but get to come home to a cute little neighborhood in New England. I live right near the water and am surrounded by green grass and a laid-back atmosphere. If you want a little more insight on my decision to do this, Carly from The College Prepster explains exactly how I feel in her blog post about moving to Connecticut from Manhattan here. […]

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