While corresponding with a friend from long ago recently (Thanks, Facebook!) I found myself mentioning that I’ve been in Charlotte for over five years now, and I came to a startling conclusion.
This is the longest I’ve lived in one city/town since I moved out of my childhood home at age 18.
It completely snuck up on me – I didn’t realize it was true until I started typing the words into the email. Even if you exclude months 2-7 of my Charlotte residency, when I was on an assignment in Tampa and coming back here for weekends, Charlotte STILL comes out in the lead.
At age 18 I moved out of my parents’ home in Cocoa Beach, Florida where I’d lived since age 4. I was on my way to my first apartment – and incidentally clearing the way for my parents to finally get divorced – in Melbourne, Florida. That began a long series of moves over a very short couple of years.
From my apartment to my father’s house in Satellite Beach, then to a new apartment in Melbourne, then back to my father’s house, to a house in Rockledge, I kept packing up and moving like I was on the run from the law. And then my father and I found a beat up old house across the street from his new place in Rockledge, and we bought it to renovate and for me to live in. I was a homeowner shortly before my 21st birthday.
Less than a year later, I was offered a promotion at work, if I transferred to Las Cruces, New Mexico. They offered me the job on Wednesday morning; I was on the road on Friday morning with a Nissan Sentra packed full of my belongings and an adventurous spirit in my heart. In May of 1999, I left the beach and moved to the desert.
Lived in two different apartments in Las Cruces before settling down and buying a house there in January of 2000. Great times there – wonderful roommates, a decent job, a beautiful environment. Then the job came crashing down, with a near certainty that layoffs would be coming our way in the near future. With virtually no notice, I moved back to Florida to finish school in the summer of 2001, leaving my roommates in the house sending me rent each month.
My house in Florida was occupied by a tenant, who had moved in after my hasty departure over two years prior, so I moved back in to my childhood home in Cocoa Beach (now my mother’s) in a section in the back with it’s own bedroom, bathroom, and living room. Sort of like a mother-in-law suite, for the 24 year old community college student trying to start over again.
Eventually I was able to move back to my house in Rockledge, and I stayed put for a couple of years (miraculously) while I finished my Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees. Three years after my return to the Space Coast of Florida, I moved off to Gainesville for a year to finish my Master’s Degree.
Which led me to Charlotte, in April of 2005. Unfortunately I followed a familiar cycle: bought a home (a small condo in Center City, where I could walk to work and nightlife and such) and moved away from it a year and a half later, to a LARGER condo in Center City. I rented out my smaller one and considered myself a real estate tycoon, with property in three states.
Then the bottom fell out of the real estate market, and I was screwed. So to be fair, a large part of my stable Charlotte residency can be blamed on uncertain ability to collect rent, and certain inability to sell properties for what I owe on them. If it wasn’t for this problem, I’d certainly have moved to New York by now.
Having said all of that, the biggest takeaway for me is definitely that I’ve had many, many places that I’ve called home, and I have fond memories of just about all of them. I’ve had quite a few roommates across the country, and again, I have fond memories of just about all of them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t had experiences in all of those places, and living with those people.
So yes, the rest of you may blame them for me turning out this way.