I just made up a word: MetroMillennial. It means a Generation Y-er who lives in a big city or has big city hopes and goals.
I’m a metromillennial. I was born in 1983 in a small town in Upstate New York. I always knew I wanted to live in New York City (which I never have). My family raised me to be curious about the world, to dream big, and to not let the confines of our small town hold me back.
Because of this, I left my small town at the first opportunity I had. I moved to LA seven years ago, then Austin three years ago, and I’ve never lived in my small town again.
I’ve felt guilty ever since.
If you are a metromillennial typically your big city trek takes you far from home (unless you’re one of those enviable breeds born in a big city and stayed). I came from an area of the country that is economically depressed and subsequently emotionally depressed. Regardless of if I wanted to live in a big city or not, if I wanted to have a semi-decent quality of life and desirable career– I had to move far, far away from my hometown. When you’re young, you take the first relatively interesting job offer you get, which could be anywhere- like California. Which in my case was 2,700 miles from home.
If you were lucky enough to come from a close family, you understand the stress it causes living far away from home. Not only did I grow up in a small, tight-knit household (I’m an only child with a single mother and a grandmother who lived across the street), the ethic that you stay close to the family occasionally wafts through my head.
Not that long ago Americans physically stayed close to the family. They stayed to work for the family business. They stayed to help take care of the elder family members. They stayed to have the elder family members take care of the kiddies. They stayed because that’s what you do- family is the most important factor in your life.
But somewhere along the way that changed. American changed. Family businesses started disappearing. Jobs started drying up in many parts of the country. Baby Boomers, torn between the idea of staying close to home and the new found liberation born out of the 60’s, promised themselves they would raise their kids to be explorers. So even though the idea that you stay close to home for the sake of the family rarely exists anymore, the ghost still exists- having been handed down, but slowly fading generation after generation.
If I could live closer to home I would, but I love my life in Austin. I love the opportunities I have here. I could move to New York City but it’s vastly more expensive and has terrible winters (something I certainly don’t miss). I’ve pleaded with my mother to bring she and Grandma down to Texas. Buy a condo they can live in 6 months out of the year so they won’t have to bear the terrible Northern winters either, but she says it’s not possible. Instead we are doomed to live far away from each other (for now).
What’s a metromillennial who loves her family to do?