I lived in New York for the better part of my 20s, until I left in 2011. Like any breakup, I was bitter at first, reacting with nonchalant dismissiveness toward my ex. "Oh yes, New York is fine if you want to live in a place where your identity centers around your location... but I'm more focused on developing myself as an individual." Or, "Yeah, I was tired of the rat race, I'm past that stage of my life. And besides, it's really not what it used to be..." Blah blah. Truth is, it is the greatest city on earth, for what it's worth. But also true is that being there uses up mental energy and financial resources that could be channeled into other facets of life – which, in some cases and on some days, can translate into "boredom" – the one thing NYC doesn't offer.
With infamous housing costs and changing demographics – and a move toward more flexible work arrangements – one wonders if New York will always be the destination for opportunity seekers it's been since its inception. A friend of mine started a real estate site called NeighborhoodX, which recently got some ink in the Post playing up the notion that you can live in surprisingly vibrant places around the world for less than you can in NYC. We're talking prime neighborhoods in Paris, London, Madrid – you get the picture. With lucrative remote work opportunities on the rise, one can earn a living wherever, live anywhere (or even in multiple locations), and allot however little toward the cost of living as is viable to be safe and happy. Sure, you might not be able to get green juice and chia seed pudding delivered to your office, but you can make your own, at home, and use the savings toward a down payment on a house you can afford. It's all a trade off, but it all depends how much living in New York is worth to you.