Should I stay or should I go? Life decision time.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 3:47 AM GMT
    I need some outsider perspective on my current and future life direction. I am currently living in a small and conservative city to get some much needed work experience. I have been here for a year and have one more year left. I am not out as I saw no need for it. There isn't a gay community (or at least one that would interest me) and had no desire to date. However, I have met and become friends with several great people. Most of the people in my group are young, into sports, single, and easy-going. However, I have no idea how these folks view homosexuality or what would happen if I came out to them. We all get to the same church that is pretty progressive, but I know a couple people who are very conservative when it comes to sexuality.

    I was living in Dallas before I moved to the new town. I have friends that I went to law school with that still live there; however, all of them have coupled off and some are having babies. As a city, I definitely enjoyed living in Dallas more - better restaurants, bars, stuff to do, and a cheaper cost of living than my current town. Before I left Dallas, I was pretty much alone since all of my friends had different schedules and were in relationships. Plus, it was harder to meet new people in Dallas than it has been in my current city.

    With that background comes my dilemma. I can permanently relocate to my current city or move back to Dallas. Here are the pros and cons for each city:

    Dallas
    Pros:
    - More progressive and can be out if I wanted to
    - Better chance at dating
    - Have a group of friends that would accept me if I was gay
    - Better for my long-term career
    - Lower cost of living (can get a decent apartment for $1200/month)
    - Higher pay (will get paid between $160K and $200K+ per year)
    - More things to do in the city as a single person
    - Easier to be physically active

    Cons:
    - Friends are always busy
    - Will be alone most days
    - Harder to meet new people
    - Though most people are "progressive," they are also snobby and hard to meet
    - Will be working a lot more hours (80+ hours/week)

    Current City
    Pros:
    - Great group of friends that are very active
    - Work fewer hours (45 hours/week)
    - Better overall community with genuine people
    - Always hanging out with people
    - Great church life

    Cons:
    - Not sure how accepting my friends will be if they found out I was gay
    - Cost of living higher (decent apartment is $1500/month)
    - Lower pay (will get paid $100K-$150K/year)
    - Great friends now, but they will eventually get married or move away
    - Low career advancement - will be harder to move back to Dallas or a large city if I stay here longer
    - Terrible bar and restaurant selection

    So that is my situation. I still have plenty of time to make a decision, but I don't want to invest too much in my current city if I am not going to stay here much longer. Plus, still not sure if it is worth it to "come out" in the meantime. As I said, I see no real advantage in coming out. Thoughts?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 3:52 AM GMT
    Up to you to make the final decision. But based on your list of Current City Cons, I think you should move out. I mean for one thing, what good is it staying in a city where the pay is low and the rent is high?

    As for social life, I don't think you'll have too much of a problem meeting new people. icon_wink.gif
  • TennisJock10

    Posts: 208

    Nov 02, 2012 4:10 AM GMT
    I'd say move. It seems like there are more opportunities to grow there not only career wise, but also personally. And being in a place where you can openly be who you are...well I don't think there is any greater benefit than that.

    I personally don't flourish in conservative environments. I say Dallas, but the choice should be based on where you will feel comfortable in all aspects (i.e. personal, social, economic, etc.)

    Good luck though! icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 4:28 AM GMT
    Hmn.. that is a toughie but for many reasons, I would recommend Dallas. Here is why:

    You are a gay man and would be easily accepted.
    There are still a good number of churches here that you can visit.
    Good spot for your career.

    While it is less friendly and people can be somewhat stale.

    Ultimately though, it's up to you. You should stay/go where you are most happy. Remember: it's not about the money. It's about the time you spend making the most of each second you're alive. That's something money cannot buy.

    Of course, I think career is important too. You don't want to set yourself up for failure. Just follow your heart when logic does not prove effective at this sort of juncture/impasse. icon_biggrin.gif

    If nothing, I'LL BE YOUR FRIEND! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif I live in Dallas too, in the northern most reaches so you're free to visit me. :3 *wavewave*
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 4:35 AM GMT
    OK, I was there once. (well, sort of. I was expected to work 100 hrs/week). I stayed 12 years. That was 10 years too long.

    Don't neglect option C. Try some place completely different that might advance career and social life.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Nov 02, 2012 4:41 AM GMT
    I feel that you are severely limiting your options.
    Have you considered a DIFFERENT big city, that would have a thriving gay community, like Washington, DC, New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, for instance ?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 4:50 AM GMT
    Hey Big D Runner,
    I have lived in Chicago, NYC (Midtown), London, UK, Houston, Austin, Brownwood (TX), and Boston, MA, for work, graduate school and medical school (Tufts Univ. in Boston). Where ever you decide to move and live and work, make sure it's YOUR decision; you're the one that's going to live it.
    With that said, here's my experience: Boston is more MO (homo) and more cliquish and very difficult to mesh with the A list; but once you're in, it's like where you live NOW ; people move on and friendships come and go; its just a smaller group of people. Dallas, on the other hand, (where I live now) is less MO than Boston, NYC or Chicago, but with Facebook and the internet and various social groups (gay lawyers group, DIVA for volleyball, Diablo for rugby, etc.) you can choose to meet and develop friends, who are not so busy. There's even a gay happy hour each month. Furthermore, there are various gay religious organizations ( churches) that you can attend and check them out (without being 'out', yourself).
    Your only 30 y/o and have time to make changes. I was 35 y/o when I entered Tufts Univ. for medical school and 8 yrs later, am still having fun as an MD. (4 yrs of med school / 4 yrs of residency). So, you can certainly keep making a list of pros and cons, but deep down, you need to decide where you're gonna store your treasures......Matthew 6, 19-20.

    Drop a line if you need to know more...
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Nov 02, 2012 4:51 AM GMT
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  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Nov 02, 2012 4:55 AM GMT
    I might be out of line here, since I don't know your overall situation and I don't know you at all really, but I'd say:

    Cross income off the list, because if you can't survive perfectly comfortably on 100k a year you have problems that money won't fix.

    Cross the difference in rent off the list because it amounts to $300 a month ($4200 a year), which is a lot of money, but only 4.2% of your projected annual income, even at the lowest income projection.

    So for the other issues:

    Hours worked is a big one because if you want to date or have a social life, then you need to have time to do that, not to mention time to sleep, exercise, etc. Your time is your life.

    Friends are important, but it's most important to have friends who love and accept you for who you are, not for who you let them think you are. I think you need to come out to some people before deciding to stay where you are.

    The dating scene can be a big problem in smaller cities, I chose to relocate from Boston to Providence about 20 years ago, instead of moving to NYC. I have a great life here and amazing people in my life, but most of them are straight and my dating history is, well, terrible. Some of it is me, but some of it is the smaller dating pool here. Sometimes I wish I had gone to NYC, SF, or LA, but other times I'm happy where I am.

    Church is a nice way to build community, but again I think the value of that community is tempered if you can't be 100% yourself there. Also, the current pastor could leave, the vestry could be taken over by whackos...in other words churches are not always stable.

    I'd say start with where you are and try discussing your situation (in full) with a friend whom you trust in your current circle of friends. Try living fully where you are first, then decide what you think of it. Plus it might be better to get advice from someone who knows you instead of some random nut-job on the internet--I have tattoos on my neck, why would anyone take advice from me? icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 5:14 AM GMT
    bigDrunner saidCurrent City
    Pros:
    - Great group of friends that are very active
    - Work fewer hours (45 hours/week)
    - Better overall community with genuine people
    - Always hanging out with people
    - Great church life

    Cons:
    - Not sure how accepting my friends will be if they found out I was gay
    - Cost of living higher (decent apartment is $1500/month)
    - Lower pay (will get paid $100K-$150K/year)
    - Great friends now, but they will eventually get married or move away
    - Low career advancement - will be harder to move back to Dallas or a large city if I stay here longer
    - Terrible bar and restaurant selection

    Your community is the one you make, the few work hours is a choice, you can have a job that pays tons of money and makes you work long hours or pays les and lets you work less hours.

    You can have friends around 27/7 if thats what you want.

    Can't comment on church I'm not religious so...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 5:49 AM GMT
    If I can assume that you live in rural Texas, I think you'll be okay if you stay. I learned just recently that working your ass off constantly doesn't justify happiness and that- after my trip last spring and based on my friends' stories (she hails from Lockhart) you'll meet interesting (in a good way) people in unexpected places. icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 6:11 AM GMT
    The answer is "yes". Meaning whatever you choose, you can make it work. You only need 1-2 good friends to make your social life complete no matter where you live, you just need a broader network for more options.

    Church friends can go either way. Sometimes coming out to fellow Christians brings out the Christ in them, other times it can bring out the devil. It depends on if they're more "religious" icon_sad.gif or more "spiritual" icon_smile.gif

    You have certain things that make you feel safe. Sometimes you do your best work and are happiest when you live just outside the edge of your comfort zone.

    As for Dallas... I know that I wrote that you can make your social life complete no matter where you live. But, I have not had any gay friends that have liked Dallas, including my ex. I think there are some cities that because of certain demographics, their easier to meet strangers in, but Dallas is not really known for that. It is more of a career city. Have you considered Austin or Houston?
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    Nov 02, 2012 6:31 AM GMT
    I was just about to make a forum almost identical to yours. Of course my life is in a completely different place since I'm just a teenager who likes to galavant haha...

    I don't know if I should play it safe in Orlando, doing the same thing for 2 more months before I head off to Puerto Rico in Jan, or should I throw caution to the wind and go to Miami for the next two months?

    I would have a job in Orl, and the stability and comfort of it would give me opportunities to accomplish a few goals (working out, writing)
    On the other hand, its getting old! I want something to spice it up, and fast

    If I go to Miami, say, tomorrow, it would be quite an adventure since I would be a clueless gringo living on someones couch and no job...You know how it takes at least a few weeks to get settled down...? Well I know I'm going to Puerto Rico for shits in Jan and idk how long Ill be there either. WHAT IS MY LIFE ABOUT?!?!?

    Im going to sleep on it and see if it makes sense tomorrow
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 7:36 AM GMT
    You're going to work over 80 hrs a week for a 160-200k salary in Dallas? lol, are you a corporate lawyer or something, that is way too much stress to handle, that's like working 6-7 days a week no down time. I think that might be a deal killer for me. I mean, what's the point of working so hard and so much when you can't enjoy it right?

    I think the current city situation is a little better, less work hour, more relaxed environment, just pick better restaurants and be more open to people. They might be nicer than you think. But if you really want to leave, nothing can stop you based on other cons.

    Or maybe you should ask for a job transfer or say move out of state and come to California, lots of guys from Texas here in L.A. Just a thought, good luck with your decision. icon_cool.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 10:00 AM GMT
    Totally not the right response, but if you do decide to move back to Dallas, would you be interested in a duplex? If 1200 a month is your price range, its just off cedar springs.

    Do what makes you happy, life is too short to put up with other peoples shits and dramas.
  • Guy1630

    Posts: 5

    Nov 02, 2012 10:17 AM GMT
    I'd get out of the small conservative town. I would get out of Texas completely, but that's your call.
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    Nov 02, 2012 12:51 PM GMT
    Well thanks for your opinions thus far. Honestly I would rather move to a city like Denver or Seattle. I am big into the outdoors and love the weather in those cities. I took other cities out of the equation because I would have to take another bar exam and it is very hard breaking into a new market as a lawyer. I even interviewed at a job in Denver recently, but ultimately got rejected. I wouldn't mind living in Austin, but that job market is even more difficult. I have no desire to move to Houston since I see no difference between Houston and Dallas other than it is more humid and I would know even fewer people.

    Money is a slight issue because I have over $180K in student loans. I am okay with working ridiculous hours at the outset to put a dent in those loans. Once I am financially comfortable, I would be able to choose a job with better hours. However, I would have more mobility working in Dallas than staying where I am at.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 1:51 PM GMT
    vintovka saidif you can't survive perfectly comfortably on 100k a year you have problems that money won't fix.
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    Nov 02, 2012 6:37 PM GMT
    Well, based on your situation, its really a choice between better money/career, or better friends/dating.

    If you have to stay in your current city for another year anyways, I would try coming out, and see what changes. (But maybe wait another couple of months) If you still really like your current city (which you seem to like alot) then maybe its better to stay there.100-150k is alot of money to me, so either way you're set financially.

    In my opinion, its always hard meeting new people. If the gay community in your current city isn't very big, then its even harder. At least for Dallas, it sounds like a bigger dating pool.

    Personally to me, Dallas sounds better for your career and lifestyle. You may have good friends now, but that could change very quickly if your friends change their lifestyles. Adding to the fact that you don't know about the gay community of your current city, Dallas just sounds overall better to me.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Nov 02, 2012 7:38 PM GMT
    Surely there are more than two locations worth considering.

    As to you present location, it shouldn't be too difficult to determine how your friends would react to your being gay. If they are really friends, they will accept you. Moreover, they probably already suspect anyway unless you are actually intentionally doing things to mislead them, such as dating women or talking about them, but they might even see through that.

    Things eventually come up in conversation which would give you an opportunity to sound out their attitudes without actually coming out. If you do decide to come out, you can do it in such a way that it doesn't seem to be an issue or that they feel that they have to respond in some way. The revelation can be casually embedded into a conversation in a way that they will not be compelled to respond. Perhaps it would help if I relate how I came out on a few occasions.

    Years ago, I was working on a Saturday to avoid falling behind on updating income tax software. A female coworker was working at the same time for the same reason. She told me that I seemed to be a very sensible and reasonable person and therefore was puzzled about my being single. She had mentioned that a couple times before, so I decided that now is the time. I said something like this: "Well, Mira, I think that most people are best off married. But some of us find that our romantic interest is limited to the same sex and, for us, marriage would not be appropriate." She seemed to have no trouble with it and later invited me to have lunch with her, which was her way of saying that it's OK.

    Here is another way I handled it; I was living in Fiji at the time. A friend had made remarks about a barber who was obviously gay. The remarks were not hateful and were intended to be amusing, but I treated it as a teachable moment. I said something like this: "Well, Richard, I suggest that you be a bit careful what you say. It may turn out that a friend or relative of yours is gay and you may end up embarrassing yourself if you say something like that to him." He doubted that such a thing would ever happen. But when he again made a remark that I thought inappropriate, I said something like this: "Richard, I happen to be gay and it hurts me very much to hear you say things like that." That was somewhat confrontational, but I had previously laid the groundwork for it. Richard apologized, became supportive, and there were no problems.

    On another occasion, also in Fiji, I confronted an Anglican Priest who had made disturbing statements in a sermon. I had to meet him at the vicarage anyway because I was the parish secretary. I told him that statements like the one he made could drive some gay church members to suicide. He asserted that there were no gay members in that parish. I stated that from the statistical standpoint, there were almost sure to be a few gay persons in the congregation. Then, I went on to tell him about my founding Integrity Twin Cities when I lived in Minneapolis; that was the local chapter of the organization in the Episcopal Church for gay men and women. Probably he was somewhat shaken, but he didn't show it, and there were no problems.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 7:38 PM GMT
    Based on your pros and cons lists, it looks as though your current city has reached its peak as to what it can offer you, it seems to be a very safe decision. Dallas offers you more possibilities and options immediately, as well as in the future. Not to mention being able to work on those student loans, which I would imagine would be important to you, by having lower rent paired with higher pay.

    Also, it would probably be relieving for you if you do feel you want to come out at some point and won't have to second guess whether to hold back or not. Personally I do think Dallas is the better decision because it hasn't peaked, it has much more room to grow and improve. But with that being said, if it has room to improve it also has room to go backwards and not become what you expected. It's really a choice of preference on your end, but I do believe you should make the move to Dallas.

    Good luck on your decision!
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Nov 02, 2012 8:23 PM GMT
    you should just listen to the clash
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Nov 02, 2012 8:50 PM GMT
    calibro saidyou should just listen to the clash


    Clash or cash?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 02, 2012 8:55 PM GMT
    You will regret staying. A small conservative city does not suit your lifestyle.

  • Lanter

    Posts: 149

    Nov 02, 2012 9:26 PM GMT
    I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and my thoughts and opinions have come a long way over the course of my lifetime. I would say that after reading the pros and cons, you should stay where you are and live with fewer hours and less money. I could understand appreciate all of the different factors you mentioned, but I couldn't find one thing that made your Dallas list more attractive. I have to admit, a lot of that comes down to personal preference, and I don't really like cities all that much (I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Texas either ;).

    I have also spent a lot of time thinking about how sorry I feel for all of the many people who get sucked into living a life of working all the time and end up watching life pass them by. Money is important, but its not everything and I have sort of come up with a name for measuring that. I call it "effort per dollar," which I think pretty much sums it up, but it mainly means that you need to find a balance, not all of one or the other. Of course I suppose you could argue that I'm younger than you are and don't have a loan bill like yours, but I believe I know enough to know how the world works.

    I admire yours and others willingness and enthusiasm for moving to another area and starting over in another part of the country. I have thought about it at times and while I do think it would be fun, I got established within my community at a very young age and the thought of losing all of that "social equity" and starting over is too sad for me to really think of leaving. In many ways I believe I was meant to do what I do here.

    One other thing I will say is on more of a personal note and I ask you to please take it the right way. I grew up with a lawyer in the family and spent a lot of time around lawyers during my lifetime and in my opinion, you must not spend all of your time working among them. I often talk to a former legal secretary, who also agrees with me on this. She also tells me a lot of things about how the legal industry has changed over the last 45 years and the topic of the young lawyers (35 and under) comes up quite a bit. One thing that always stays the same is that it takes a special kind of person to stick it out among them. Again, please take it the right way ;)

    Anyway, I could go on but I don't have all that much time. You can message me if you want to hear more.

    Good Luck