For the first six or so weeks of this blog, we could have been called "us almost in Orlando" or "the once and future Orlandoians" (Orlandoans? Orlandites? hmmm.)
When I kicked off this blog, we were living just outside of NYC on Jersey's gold coast. When we stepped out of our apartment building and looked right, we had a straight-line view of the Statue of Liberty. Mr. UIO is a native Staten Islander, and he routinely proclaims that New York City is the "greatest city in the world." Mr. UIO and I met while working in the West Village, and before our first stint in Orlando, we lived in both Hoboken, NJ and in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (NYC.)
So, why would we move?
The short answer is geographic arbitrage. The stress of living in a HCOLA with an infant, managing multiple jobs to make that work, and living far away from our support network is the longer answer.
More complexly put - we left Orlando to chase an NYC dream that involved different career goals. We made those career and move plans pre-baby UIO and we decided to keep them and move with a six-week-old. Needless to say ... having a baby changed everything, and the in-person work for a remote-allowed company, the in-person side hustle - those didn't matter as much anymore. The social network we had left two years before had changed dramatically, and we found months going by without getting get-togethers scheduled. The planned day-care turned into unplanned in-home childcare.
We were bringing in a household income in the top 5% of earners, yet we felt like we weren't making enough and that all we were doing was reacting and triaging. We weren't enjoying life, and we didn't feel like we were any closer to any of our goals other than our professional ones. And those professional goals that brought us north in the first place no longer felt as important.
So, after spending the holidays back in the sunshine state, we started to discuss options. We didn't want to just be "running away" - instead, we wanted to be very deliberate about the life we wanted to create. If professional gold stars weren't the motivator any more, what were our motivators? This was the true start of our FI journey. The turning point in my concept of work was listening to the audiobook of Your Money or Your Life. I followed that up with Work Optional, and then Present Over Perfect.
We realized that in Orlando, we could achieve our goals.
These changes would allow us to breathe, and to work on secondary goals of more volunteering, more time outside, more home cooking, more time with our dog, etc.
So, with that - we planned the move and over Memorial Day weekend 2019, we officially returned to Orlando!
the "why" - a few months ago, I saw the hashtag #1goodmoneything trend periodically. It inspired a group chat with a few friends to not just share a good money thing, but a good thing - self care, personal growth, whatever. It made me appreciate celebrating the small achievements and the wins of "continuous improvement." So, in that spirit, I'm going to share a few #goodthings each Wednesday, and I hope you do too!
UPDATED. // Typing this to post during a massive PATH train delay, will edit to contain the “why” and formatting later :)
So this was one of those weeks that felt like a kick in the teeth. After a month of disciplined blogging, I let it all slip. It’s been quiet as Us In Orlando attempts to get to Orlando.
I’ve been trying to give myself grace on “doing enough” and “being enough.” I realized that I felt so eager to start a blog I didn’t stop and think through the stories I wanted to tell (why Orlando? What are our jobs? What are our wins? Our fails? Our goals?) or how I wanted to tell them. The blog posts became a small personal accounting, but not the reflective exercise I had envisioned. My goal for this next month of blogging is to fix that.
In the midst of this hard week, I found myself thinking “I don’t have any good things to share.” How wrong! Hard times are when I feel I need to dig deeper to focus on the good. So, without further ado, here are my good things of the week.
#1goodmoneything: I made a decision to dump our financial coach. Our family needs some coaching to help us feel confident in our plan and decision-making, but we had hooked up with a flashy instagram-worthy company that didn’t reflect the expertise we were looking for or the values we are trying to live up to. It felt great to make the decision to search for a coach more authentic and aligned to the life we want and helping us get there.
#1goodselfcarething: investing in organization. We’re downsizing by over 200 square feet and to make that feel great, we are going to need to both declutter AND get very focused on having a home for each of our possessions. Thanks to my YNAB wish farm, I’ve been able to budget for the right organizational tools to get us unpacked and organized from the beginning!
#1goodmindfulnessthing: poignantly, I only started one of Rachel Held Evans's books after hearing of her passing. I’ve been reading her book Searching for Sunday this week, and it has spoken to me deeply and in ways I didn’t expect. She acknowledges the work and the struggle of having faith, yes, but also trying to be a good and honest and resilient person. One quotation from the book that has stuck with me as a meditation this week is this one:
“Even when I don’t believe in church, I believe in resurrection. I believe in the hope of Sunday morning.”
So, friends - I’m believing in hope and in these good things, and trusting that this bear of a week will wrap up well. What are your #onegoodthings?
Blog posts are all by Mrs. Us in Orlando unless otherwise noted. A former military kid, she's glad to have landed in the sunshine state and enjoys year-round summer sports, making every book a "beach read", waterside walks with the fam, and iced lattes.