December 30th, 2016. The day my husband and I made the decision to accept a dream job opportunity in Dayton, Ohio. It is 2,336 miles from our current home in Seattle, Washington. It is also 2,392 miles from the suburbs of San Francisco, where I grew up as a born-and-bred California gal. Between Seattle and San Francisco, as well as four years spent in sunny San Luis Obispo, California for college, I have been lucky to live in some of the most beautiful cities on the West Coast.
So why the heck are we doing moving to Dayton, Ohio?!
And is that where the big car race is?! (Folks, the Daytona 500 actually takes place in Daytona Beach, Florida. But I understand the confusion!)
Now back to the first question. The short answer is my husband (H) received a dream job offer in his field of medicine, an offer it turns out we could not refuse. H grew up in Ohio, so a move to Dayton will be closer to his family and friends. Much of my extended family resides in Michigan, so we will be closer to my relatives as well.
The longer story? And why are we moving from Seattle? I’ll back up for a moment. H is a specialized physician who has spent 14 years between school and medical training (undergraduate, medical school, two residencies, and a fellowship…woof!). After getting married in 2013, we moved to Seattle for his second residency and following fellowship. It has been a wonderful adventure and we have fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest, but our end goal has always been to live closer to family.
H is currently in his last year of medical training, which means he will (finally!) be working at his first job after his fellowship wraps up this summer. A few months ago when H was beginning his job search, I was laid off from my position as a marketing director at a technology startup. While this was not my first layoff, this one was particularly brutal and emotionally depleting. I poured all my energy into my job, building an entire marketing department from the ground up, only to be spit out as a disposable employee. It was a difficult experience, but I learned a lot and am in a much better place now. With no job tying me down to Seattle, we decided it was time to move closer to family, whether it be in Ohio or California.
What seemed like a good strategy initially (“We only need one job offer, the decision will be easy!”), ended up more complicated as H received two outstanding job offers – one in Ohio, the other in the California (proud wife moment!). Both offers were extended within days of each other and we were given two weeks to decide. No sweat, right? We spent the first week stressed out, emotionally weighing what our lives would be like in one city versus the other. We happened to be vacationing in New York City during that first week, so we spent every dinner conversation mulling over what to do. (Translation: H calmly discussing, while I blubbered like a baby. I’m sure the waitstaff thought I was a barrel of fun!). The second week we gave it a more pragmatic approach, building a giant spreadsheet to weigh the pros and cons of each job and their respective locations.
If you told me a few months ago that we would have the opportunity to move back to California or Ohio, and I willingly chose Ohio, I would have thought you were crazy. But in the end, the job opportunity in Ohio was better in almost every way – better hours, higher pay, more vacation, and a lower cost of living. After years of H being overworked and underpaid, it was important to me that H could work to live and not live to work. As for my career, I’m still figuring out what I want next but I am confident I can find it in Ohio. But above all that, the biggest driver was envisioning what our future family life would be like. While we do not currently have children, we would like to one day and the work-life balance in Ohio will allow both H and I to be around for our family-to-be.
In my gut, I knew Ohio was the better choice for us at this point in our lives. The Bay Area I grew up in and love is unfortunately disappearing, as the high cost of living is making it a financially unviable place to live. While we may be fortunate to move back to my California home eventually, we would be fighting a financial uphill battle trying to start our lives there right now. Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco is one of the most incredible cities in the world. But after living outside of the Bay Area for almost four years, I have seen there are other wonderful communities where you do not have to spend half of your paycheck (or more!) just to live.
After living in a liberal bubble my entire life, Dayton is bound to challenge me with new viewpoints that I look forward to learning and growing from.
So there you have it, the answer to why the heck a California gal agreed to move to Ohio. After living in a liberal bubble my entire life, Dayton is bound to challenge me with new viewpoints that I look forward to learning and growing from. Yes, there will be challenges. No, it will not be perfect. It will be especially hard on me being even further away from my immediate family and lifelong girlfriends in the Bay Area. But for what we are losing by leaving the West Coast, there will be gains in the Midwest. Financial stability. The ability to work to live and not the other way around. Having the means to create the home and community we’ve always dreamed about for our future family.
We still have several months left in Seattle before the big move. I created this blog as a place to document our experience and transition to the Midwest. My hope is to meet others who have made similar cross-country moves and hear your experiences. (Any other West Coasters living in the Midwest? Or curious what life is like there? Send me a shout!)
Thanks for taking the time to read and allowing me to share our journey!