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Where to start? I'll be 38 this month. June 28 was my 10 year anniversary in NYC. I got married in May to a wonderful woman originally from Rochester. A couple years ago I was able to convince her to eventually move back to my home state of California with me, which I consider the most successful negotiation I have accomplished in life so far. We've finally managed to pencil in a date: Feb 1, 2016.

I think I've figured out housing, at least to just get us out there, in the otherwise ridiculously expensive Bay Area. My mother lives on income from several rental properties she got out of a divorce settlement with my dad when I was three. She needs help. I don't think she's getting senile (she's always been a little batty), but she feels increasingly overwhelmed by several aspects of her life. She's agreed to let us live rent-free in one of her units in exchange for my taking over her property management headaches. This immediately lowers our cost of living by 1/3, just for moving to California. Mom is ecstatic to have one of her kids come home, I think Mrs whafa is warming up to idea of no more winters, and I've been itching to leave NYC for years now.

So far so good, right? The only thing left to figure out is employment, and this is where I'm stuck. The story of why and how is best saved for another post, but I've become increasingly disappointed, disillusioned and cynical about office work and my place in it. Working in technology and having fallen into a few profitable industries over the course of my career, I am not too worried about finding another lucrative job in CA... But I've been thinking more and more about not doing that.

For one thing, there's the logistics of it. I can certainly start looking from NYC, but I'm skeptical that anybody will want to hire me with a 3 month lead time. For another, there's mom's properties, which I expect are going to require a lot of attention initally as I meet the tenants, figure out her books, and plan for improvements (the properties have not been kept up very well). But mostly, I think I'm slowly dying in my cubicle, a tiny bit every day, and I *think* I am ready to take a major pay cut in exchange for a more wholesome, fulfilling and satisfying source of money.

So, for the first time in my life, I'm considering quitting my job with no replacement lined up. I should emphasize here that I am NOT ready to stop working altogether - not even close. Our total worth is in the area of $400k - $500k, a great deal of that in retirement accounts that we can’t access for decades. But we will have saved a nice chunk of cash in our joint savings account by the time we move -- $50K or so. And I figure I’ll be able to save another $15K on my own by then as well. I’ve got a brokerage account with about $25K of stocks I never intended to sell, but could do if needed. A couple gold coins, some hard cash, a small Vanguard account, etc. Mrs whafa is also tired of the rat race, and has a 5 year plan to get a teaching credential and teach personal finance. In the mean time, we think she will be able to transfer to the SF office at her current job, allowing us to keep their generous health insurance. Combined with the "free" rent (we’ll see how much time it costs me), I’m starting to feel like I’ve got enough of a cushion to try this.

What would I do? I have dozens of ideas. I would happily take a $20/hour job at the local nursery, learning that business. I’ve wanted to get into what I call urban landscaping ever since I started containerized gardening on my Brooklyn roof deck. I have a knack for it. I could teach professional classes -- it is depressing, in 2015, how many people lack basic Word and Excel skills, but I would also be effective teaching SQL and other mid-tier technologies. I’ve become a big proponent of bicycles, but know almost nothing about their care and maintenance. I’ve thought about learning this as well, and maybe opening a bike shop. There’s always technical consulting, as well, although I’ve always been skittish about it. Between all of these things, I feel like I could cobble a living together. If worse comes to worst and I start to feel like I’m scraping the barrel, I don’t think a year (or whatever) of unemployment, considering a cross-country move and an ageing parent to tend to, would be too much of a black mark on my resume.

I’m not sure why I wrote this. Maybe just to consolidate my thoughts. I think I’m also looking for insight from people who have done something similar, or thoughts in general on the idea. In short, to paraphrase Jim Morrison on moving west: get there, and they’ll do the rest. I’ve taught myself, over the years, to be relentlessly optimistic, but I’ve never contemplated such a leap of faith.
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