When I was on the market, I was pretty comfortable claiming that I was open to moving to anywhere that had a job. I’m just not a very place-bound sort of person.

Living near family isn’t a huge issue for me. My parents came to California in the seventies, refugees from “Back East,” in the way that people today still, not knowing what to do with their life, say “hey, let’s go out to California!” So it was natural to me as a child, to have family members at a far distance—in fact, I thought it was weird that some classmates had grandparents in town.*

I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have more to do than I had time and money to spend. I’m open to adjusting to going for hikes instead of wandering multicultural street festivals. I’m pretty realistic about the fact, that even if your city has thirty Thai restaurants, you’re still going to wind up going to the same one or two all the time—so only having two or three in town doesn’t really make a difference to the quality of your life, other than psychologically.

Having none certainly makes a difference, of course. But I’m pretty realistic about distance—driving 20-30 minutes to the next town to get to a Thai restaurant seems like a hardship when you commute 5 minutes to work, but really—if you lived in a city, it’d probably still be twenty minutes or so to get to most places. Even if you live in a walking neighborhood in NYC, your outside range is probably still fifteen or twenty minutes.

So a lot of the complaints you hear about living in a small town? A lot of them are imagined complaints because people idealize big cities, in my opinion.

Sure, the energy of a big city can make a difference to the quality of your life. But I don’t especially like cities—they tend to put me in a stressed, rushed, mood, so that’s not something I mind giving up. I can pass on the tense extra energy.

So my main concerns—should I be so lucky as to get a job—were not place, but finding a job where my colleagues were collegial, where I enjoyed the courses I was teaching, and where the administration wasn’t so incompetent that their actions kicked me into a seething rage more a couple times year. These things are all more important to my daily happiness than the place where I live.

But the one town factor that will make a difference to my quality of life?

The local health club.

I really, seriously, miss my gym.

*Admittedly, when my sister said something about having kids, I did have a twinge of “I need to be closer! I can’t be a long-distance aunt!”