When mr. jolt & I first moved here, it was a major culture shock.  No decent ethnic food to speak of; the only food delivered is pizza; the shopping (of the non-crappy variety) virtually non-existent.  We spent a lot of time driving up for weekends to stay with our friends (many of whom who had also moved out of the city, but to the suburbs and further out burbs, that can still reach the city by commuter rail– we’re 3-4 hours away).

Then we got to know people here & started to have them over for dinner, etc.  I discovered zappos (the rest of shopping still sucks).  Some new restaurants opened up.  I began to recover my self-esteem after several years of battering in a degenerating and dysfunctional work environment (it’s amazing what you realize when you aren’t IN something on a day to day basis).

Anyway, at our dinner to celebrate our dating anniversary of 19 years (OMG!) a few weeks ago, we were talking about various potential job opportunities for mr. jolt.*  One of them involved a job back in the city.  There is no way we could afford to move back to the city itself (real estate has not dropped much & increased mightily before the subprime mess) but we could move to a distant suburb and mr. jolt could ride the train in a few days a week for class, etc.

Just the idea of it made me vaguely ill.  The absolute best thing about leaving the city has been regaining my sanity and sense of perspective.  It wasn’t just the job rat race, it was the child-school rat race, the how big is your apartment rat race, the fabulous show rat race, and everything else.  The very culture was corrosive — extreme wealth; extreme poverty; a lot of people in the middle always feeling they were scraping by whether they were or not (we were not but sure as hell felt like we were whether we were in publishing and eating beans the last week of every month, in law school living off loans, or up and coming associates in private practice earning some serious $) because you were always looking at the next person on the ladder.  Ugh.

Anyway, over cocktails we both agreed that we had absolutely no interest in getting sucked back into that destructive whirlpool.  It doesn’t mean we will never live in the city.  I could see doing it on a short term (a few semesters’ visit) basis where you just have a blast doing all the cultural stuff as a sort of extended vacation, but I can’t see myself ever living there, or in its orbit, again.

And that feels really, really good.

*The reason the focus of the conversation was on his job prospects not mine is because I still haven’t figured out what I want to do – more on that topic later.