Why Canada. National health insurance, legal gay marriage, no death penalty, full abortion rights, less crime, less poverty. Canada didn't support the invasion of Iraq, and they don't keep a huge military with which to bully the rest of the world. Religious fanatics do not control the government. It's not a socialist utopia, but it all adds up to a very different attitude about government, society and a nation's place in the world. In short, it's a country with values more similar to my own.
The US has moved so far to the right. It's not just the W Regime, even though they've made it so much worse. It's been going this way for almost 25 years. Relative to the norm in this country, I used to be a liberal. Now I'm a radical leftist - and I haven't changed at all!
Why Toronto. It's extremely diverse. There are jobs in our field. It's English-speaking. It's a big enough city that we won't be bored. It's close enough to NYC for friends and family to visit easily. It has baseball! And not just baseball - American League East baseball, so we could both see our teams on a regular basis (likely more than we do now).
Why now. I've been in the city more than 20 years; Allan has been here since 1987. We're at a good place to make a big change - financially, emotionally, all that.
I've been ready to leave New York for a while. The incessant homogenization is really getting me down: all the chain stores, theme restaurants, the Upper West Side looking like Chelsea looking like Park Slope. It's something I've been complaining about since the late 80s, and it's only gotten worse and worse. NYC has lost so much uniqueness, so much character; it feels too much like anyplace USA. I find it very sad. A friend called it soul-destroying, and that's precisely right.
And of course, priorities change. We used to run around the city a lot more, hearing music, going to theatre, lectures, art exhibits, all kinds of stuff. I still do all those things, but much, much less. Now I spend more time on the couch, watching movies or baseball, or at the computer.
I used to feel like NYC was the only place I could live - and it was, for a long time - but now it doesn't feel as essential to be here. A smaller city would be enough, as long as it was very diverse and had enough going on - or else I'd live in the middle of nowhere. We've been talking about moving for a while, but hadn't hit on just the right fit.
For a long time I've talked (and fantasized) about getting a place upstate, moving to a smaller apt in the city, keeping our weekend jobs and coming into the city every weekend just to work. It's an appealing idea, but fraught with questions, and would probably be more expensive to maintain than we'd be comfortable with.
We have the perfect situation right now: a terrific rent-stabilized apartment and great jobs that give us lots of time for writing and our own pursuits. It's so comfortable; it's too comfortable. I feel like we could stay the way we are forever - and it's beginning to stagnate. The time is right to pack it all in and start something brand new!
This feels exactly right.