Florida is known for its miles of beautiful coastlines, numerous lakes, golf courses, and of course M-I-C-K-E-Y (admit it..you sang it). All the family activities is what compelled us to move here. My husband, originally from Massachusetts, lived here twice previously, and couldn’t wait to get back. We even honeymooned here so he could convince me just how amazing it is.I was impressed. This Texas girl had only seen Texas and Mississippi beaches….definitely not the same as Florida coastline, even on the Gulf side. Three years later, we were packing up and waving goodbye to the Friendly State, and crossing into the Eastern Time Zone. We moved right into Disney’s backyard.
Everything is geared towards tourism. Hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. There are souvenir shops, and places to sell your tickets, and hot air balloon rides, and helicopter rides, and mini-golf. We did get enjoyment out of the balloons though. They used to land near my daughters’ school, so we would see them up close every morning.
Traffic is the worst part of living outside the “Happiest Place on Earth,” both human and vehicular. There are just so many people here! Not only does traffic back up from people going to the parks, but all the people that work in the parks! You learn when to not go to certain restaurants, or beaches. There is no secret time to go to Disney either…its always busy! The area we moved to was mostly vacation homes. It lacked the sense of community that we wanted. It’s hard to get to know your neighbors when they change weekly.
Florida is the #1 vacation destination, but I never realized until I moved here, that many people come here for vacation..and decide to move here. According to http://visitfloridaonline.com/article_visit.htm, an estimated 958 people move to Florida each day! That’s over 350,000 a year! They come here from all over. It’s rare to be from Florida. Aside from the beaches, and the weather, Florida does not have a state income tax. That entices a lot of people from the northeast to head south. There are also tons of “snow birds”, or retirees who hold dual residence, that arrive to enjoy the warm weather.
What I’ve noticed is that a lot of people move here to have a better life. They want to pay fewer taxes, enjoy nicer weather, and just enjoy life. The reality that they encounter is not always what they expect. Sure there are fewer taxes, and the cost of living is less, but wages are less too. Also, the education system is ranked pretty low compared to the rest of the country. Last year, we dropped to #28 on a national ranking. For more information, read about it here. Retail, restaurant, and hospitality, are the jobs that are the most readily available. Horrible schedules, lower wages, and swarms of people everywhere, is what they end up with.
Many people, my family included, move here without any family around. Let’s face it, as an adult, it’s hard to make friends. You know the people you work with and that’s it. Unless you are plugged into a church, or some other type of organization, it’s challenging to meet new people. It can be very lonely. Earning less money doesn’t always make it easy to fly home to visit family. Luckily, people usually want to come visit Florida. We moved here wanting to improve our family life.
Boy did that blow up in our faces.
My daughters were unhappy we took them away from everyone, job situations didn’t improve (kind of hard to branch out of your industry when the job market is saturated). Things just didn’t go as planned. In the 5 years we’ve been here, our household has decreased by half. The girls went to live with their dad, and my mother-in-law headed back up North. The boys (hubby and son) and I try to enjoy the few weekends off that I get, but we mostly end up at Costco or GameStop. We miss family barbecues, and just being able to socialize with other people! Work, home, repeat is our lifestyle. We knew we needed a change. Life is too short to be lonely and miserable.
So after much deliberation, we decided to head up North. It was not an easy decision to make. It is one thing to have my girls move away from me, but for me to move and NOT be moving to where they are? That was a different thing altogether. When choosing to move, especially to another state, there are many things to consider: cost of living, income potential, housing, and social aspects.
The whole reason we want to move is to be near family.
When you are married it becomes an issue of whose family you choose to be closer to. I learned in my first marriage that when your parents, and your in-laws, live in different cities (or states), you can’t make everyone happy with where you live. You have to make the choice that’s right for your household. So my household will pack up and be one of few moving trucks headed North on I-95 this summer.
It’s hard to tell your parents, and children that you don’t believe it is the right thing to move closer to them. I’ve spent so much time praying about this. I really want to follow God’s guidance in my life. I always want to make everyone happy, and I just can’t. I think God has the girls in Texas for a reason, but I don’t think that’s my place to be. I see the good things that are happening in their lives. Sure, I’m a little sad that it wasn’t that way when they were here, but I’m super proud of them.
I know I’m making another decision that won’t win me any popularity contests from my side of the family. I continue my prayers that God will heal this family, and truth will prevail.
The ball is rolling, and we are fine-tuning the details. Massachusetts here we come!
Stay tuned for more posts as this Texas girl discovers how Wicked New England really is.