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Sunday will mark ten years since I packed up my Toyota Supra and became a part of New York's "Brain Drain," leaving the state I grew up and was educated in so I can start my career elsewhere. Never to return.
Besides the obvious anxiety of moving across the country without having a job lined up, something that worried me at the time was whether I would regret the move later... realizing some opportunity I'd missed while I lived there. I'm happy to say that never happened. Many applications were sent to many places, me using as much time as I could to make sure I'd given New York every chance, for both career positions and better-than-what-I-have positions. By all indications my career at Wendy's would continue indefinitely. When my college degree was over a year old I couldn't stand it anymore, I put everything in the Lord's hands and started over.
Enough about the past. While I'd expected to move to a bigger city (in Florida) by now I'm still working happily at the same station in Fort Myers. My promotion to director in 2008 pushed back any such "market hopping" (as we call it in the industry), then a major investment in this station (lots of new construction including new studio) settled it in 2013. This is a good place to work, and while bigger markets would mean bigger paychecks it may also mean more stress. Besides, though Fort Myers was certainly a transition for me after living in the shadow of New York City, it isn't exactly a small market. And Florida is now a more populous state than New York!
I still wonder about other cities within the state from time to time, the ones that actually have networks of expressways for a road geek like me to enjoy. But my (mothers) family is near here and I've come to value that more over the years. I can drive to Tampa or Miami whenever I want, and I certainly will now that I have gas money. But for a place to rest my head, Fort Myers isn't broken... so I need not fix it.
I'm a Floridian for life, as I planned before I even picked July 12, 2005 as a moving date. I still miss the LIRR and Robert Moses' parkways. I still miss autumn, which is why I do my road trips up north in October. But New York has simply become "the state I grew up in and still have family."
To another awesome decade in Florida!
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