2018 is what would best be called a learning experience for us. We had lots of challenges, lots of personal growth, and with those came a lot of stress.
We bought a house in August of 2018 with the goal of renovating it and living in it for years to come. While we didn’t move in until late September, we still ended up in a construction zone with plastic sheeting and drywall dust EVERYWHERE for a few weeks. That wasn’t necessarily bad- but coupled with the work stress we were both under at the time, we quickly realized that the house and the ultra dense urban lifestyle really didn’t fit us at all.
That’s not to say we didn’t love our little house. We loved the neighborhood and we loved being so close to friends and all of the awesome downtown neighborhoods in San Diego like North Park, and Hillcrest. What we didn’t enjoy was what we had to give up to get that: it just wasn’t enough space for us (or the dogs) and we just couldn’t afford anything bigger. Our Spanish bungalow, even with 2 bedrooms, topped out at ~830sq ft, and having ‘side hustles’ just to survive quickly became exhausting and unappealing.
Let’s see how we got here….
We both moved to California 10 years ago and during our 7 years together we’ve lived in both ‘ends’ of the state. The Bay Area was too hectic and unstable for us, constantly reinventing itself and trying to do the same to the world at large. Cost of living was nuts, traffic miserable, but wages and career growth mapped to cost of living pretty well. SoCal on the other hand was too laid back; it’s almost as if it’s clinging to a social media image of itself that isn’t reality. While the overall cost of living was lower, salaries didn’t scale to it appropriately and there was very little opportunity for career progression for either of us. We tossed the idea around of splitting our time between both cities, but that turned out to be a logistics nightmare, and we spent more time apart than together.
Now back to the turning point.
We knew after living in the house for 4 months we had to make a change. There was high stress both financially and personally. There were arguments and tears on both sides. Over the course of the year we had given up so many things we loved to do; especially entertain and travel in an attempt to make it ‘work’. We quickly recognized that the environment wasn’t a healthy one for us, and that doesn’t even count the fact our dogs were constantly breaking out in hives! There had to be more to life than just struggling to break even and survive.
It was during a January visit to friends outside of Denver that things accelerated. We were already playing with the idea of leaving San Diego but hadn’t settled on the where, but when Paul got a job offer from a clinic here we decided to take the leap. Luckily my job was fine with me moving so we figured- why not? We found a development still selling lots in a good location and we closed on building a house nearly the same day. Jump ahead 5 weeks and we were living in a townhouse outside of Denver and had sold our little Spanish bungalow and left California behind. We don’t really waste time when we make a decision!
Counting from the first week in January we completely uprooted our lives and restarted in about 6 weeks including listing and selling our bungalow in San Diego. It’s still mind boggling to see it ‘written’ here in print but it’s true. 6 weeks and an 18 hour car ride with 2 dogs (and later a plane ride with a screaming cat) and here we were. Did I mention the blizzard that followed us off the mountains and we had to follow a snowplow down at 10mph? Welcome to Colorado!
So here we are, starting a whole new chapter in our lives together. We’re building an almost custom home from scratch (that’s our dirt lot up there) in a rapidly developing township called Broomfield. Paul is back practicing chiropractic and I’m still doing tech consulting until our build wraps up in October. After that… who knows what our next step will bring? I will say that after the first quarter of the year showed we can weather such a dramatic upheaval it fills me with hope and shows me just how strong we can be when working together.