The grass is always greener…

Life for the last few days:


I don’t often get too serious on here, (this post being the only other real time, but I guarantee most of you didn’t see that since I had all of about 25 readers then) but last week I read this post by Amanda and it struck some major chords. Since we’re flying home today and I’ve photographed/written up absolutely none of the good food we’ve made and ate over the past few days, (sometimes a break is nice) I figured I’d share some of the serious side of life with you guys.


Leaving Florida every time we come to visit is a bag of mixed emotions for me. Here’s the backstory….

We got engaged about a month after Ulysses moved down to Florida from New York to open up a business with his brother. During our long distance engagement (I was living and working in Connecticut at the time) we bought a house in Florida with the understanding that I would move down there after the wedding. I was lucky enough to be able to keep my job and work from home. The wedding came, I moved down and we spent our first married year living in a nice house with a pool, jet-skiing on weekends, traveling around the state for races (Ulysses raced jet-skis at the time), eventually getting Ginger, taking a trip to Key West, and all the other great things that come from living in a climate where you can be outside all year round. And then, a little over a year later, I had a breakdown when a holiday edition of a Frontgate magazine arrived in my mailbox. I can literally remember crying as I turned the pages looking at snowy Christmas tree setups thinking about how much I missed snow, the change of seasons and my family. All those emotions coupled with the fear of not being able to progress professionally given the fact that I worked from home and was restricted to certain roles within my company, made me obsessed with moving back to NY.

Ulysses, however, loved Florida. Not only the weather, but also the career opportunity of working in law enforcement that he was literally on the verge of accepting when I expressed how much I wanted to move.

An easy decision it was not. Add to it the whole fact that we were dealing with the market crash of 2008 at the time and bought our house in 2005 at the peak of the market and you’ve got one ridiculously stressful and difficult time. We were lucky in that we actually sold our house when plenty of neighbors could not, but we also took a huge loss in order to do so.

So, Ulysses turned down his job opportunity in FL hoping for a law enforcement job in NY state, we moved back to NY, I got promoted and all was good.

For about a year and a half.

At first, I fought the realization because I didn’t want it to be true. Because if it was, I just ruined my husband’s opportunity at a career he had really wanted for nothing. So admitting I was wrong wasn’t an easy thing to vocalize as you may imagine. But the feeling just continued to grow stronger and stronger.

There are many things that made me think I made the wrong choice ranging from weather to career opportunity to quality of life and I literally beat myself up about it almost everyday for about a year after telling Ulysses my feelings. There’s an enormous amount of guilt that you feel when you’ve made a bad decision that doesn’t just impact your own life, but someone else’s as well, especially someone you love and it hung over me constantly. This time around though, we couldn’t make the decision to just up and leave again because of real life stuff like jobs and mortgages. So, we’re still in NY with long term plans to move back to Florida but no real timeframe or idea of when that will be. To a type A planner this drives me insane. I like instant gratification and if that’s not possible, a plan for when things can be accomplished. It took me about a year of feeling a constant sort of stress and anxiety about not having a concrete plan to realize I was wishing my life away and needed to start living and being happy in the moment. We may not be where we want to be but we still have plenty to be happy and thankful about.

I’ve learned to accept the bad decision on my part over the past year or so and have somewhat come to peace with the fact that it was probably a premature decision to move, but there are definitely still days when I get frustrated and wish I could have a “do-over.”

For all the negative in the past 5 years though, there have absolutely been some positives to come from the whole ordeal. I’ve really come to understand what things are most important to me and to “let go” a bit. I’m trying to enjoy all the good stuff in life like each other, Ginger, family, friends, health and a beautiful house despite the fact that it’s not in the sunshine state. I’ve also come to finally understand why people say your 30s are the best years of your life because 24-28 were r.o.u.g.h. At least I’m going out with a good year (minus finding all these damn gray hairs!) but wow, making life changing decisions at 25 is kind of hard.

So visiting is not the easiest thing in the world. It’s hard not to spend our time in Florida thinking about everything life could’ve been right now had we stayed and it’s definitely not easy getting back on a plane to 40 degree rainy weather from 78 and sunny! But, the grass is always greener on the other side so for now we’re staying put and learning to make the best of it. With places like Chick-fil-A, Menchie’s, Whole Foods and Chipotle only minutes away in Florida though, it’s not always easy!

Back to NY we go…

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  1. 1


    Sounds like quite an emotional rollercoaster. I too wish I could predict what the “right” choices are, especially when it comes to making decisions about things like jobs and homes – I think we grow from those challenges and have to have faith that things always work out in the long run. It sounds like you have a great support system so you’ll thrive no matter where you guys end up! :)

  2. 2


    So, how about I have those feelings RIGHT now. Not over something like moving from FL to NY.. but I pushed and pushed and pushed for a dog.. and now I am questioning if it is right. I know it is going to take adjustments.. but now Justin is the one trying to reassure ME that we made the right decision. Hoping it will pass in time!

  3. 3


    I remember you had mentioned living in Florida in the past, but I had no idea what an emotional connection you had for it. I’ve lived in south Florida my entire life, so I know how easy it is to become attached to the climate and lifestyle. As much as I say that I’d love to live up north, I could never imagine not being able to wear tank tops and running shorts year-round.

    My heart goes out to you– I have faith that it will all work out! Think of NY as a temporary thing because at least you know that you will be returning soon enough. Best of luck, Gina :)

  4. 4


    Awww, that has to be rough. But, hey, you made the best decision you could make at the time. It sounds like you weighed everything in your mind, so it wasn’t a flighty move. You live and you learn :) But now that it is your goal to move back, I bet you’ll find yourself there quicker than you expect.

    We snowbird in Florida, so I totally understand how hard it is to come back to the dreary winter. We’re hoping to make it a permanent move someday, too!

  5. 6

    Jess says

    If it makes you feel any better, I enjoy the fact that you are only 2.5 hours away, and I get to see you a little more now! I do understand how nice it is to be outside all year round, though, doing the things you love to do.

  6. 7


    “but last week I read this post by Amanda and it struck some major chords…” <— I read that post too, we emailed, and yes, I can relate.

    Your story, her story…it's also my story regarding Phoenix. Wanted to own a house so badly that I we left San Diego to buy in Phx just to be home owners b.c we were coming off the market crash of buying in 04 and selling in 07 and although we made it out as you say you did at a time when many couldnt even sell, we had nothing saved and Phx looked appealing. Til we got there. And I hated it. And I wanted to move back and un-do what we had spend a year++ working to do: to buy the house and move there.

    So 9 mos later we moved back to SD, and will not be in a position to buy…for a very, very long time. If ever, in the CA market.

    I know you guys will get back to Fla. I can totally understand the beating yourself up emotions….I lived them daily for 2+ yrs. Email me if you wanna chat.

    I could write a book here :)

  7. 8


    Awwww, way to find the silver lining. I’m still cracking up at that pic of you in the camo, and I’m also happy to learn I’m not the only one who caved for Chic-fil-a fries this weekend (though my 2 miles to burn them off didn’t exactly come close to your 13).

  8. 9


    Aw. I really appreciate such an honest and real post from you (not that I don’t love ALL of your posts, let’s be honest). It’s hard to admit to being wrong, or making a decision you later regret – it takes guts to admit it, but even more guts to right that wrong, much like you’re working towards doing. Although, I can’t help but think – sure, you might look back and wish for a do-over, but because of the decisions you’ve made together, haven’t you learned so much more about yourselves, about your relationship, etc. that you might never have seen or experienced had you not made that decision? If you look at it that way, it might help you to feel less guilt, and instead to look at it as an opportunity for change and growth and learning.

  9. 10


    I can really relate to this post. Ryan and I HATED living in Pennsylvania…but now that we’re back in the South (where we WANTED to be!!!), I spend a lot of time missing our small little town up in PA, and wondering if we made the right choice to move to Alabama. It’s so easy to question yourself about everything, especially if you’re already feeling doubtful. But you’re right– it’s best to enjoy the place you’re at to the best of your abilities, and not worry *too* much about what might come in the future, or how things might have been different had you made other choices.

  10. 11

    Barbara says

    I know I’ve said it to you before, and it sounds trite,… but feel that life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. (the Beatles) I also feel we grow more from our mistakes sometimes than our sucesses. Just how bad a mistake can it be being closer to us ??? ;). …(You don’t have to answer that)

  11. 12


    Thanks for the shout-out, Gina. It’s really comforting to know that other people have had similar stuggles, even if the experiences are a bit different.

    I can relate to just about every emotion you described. This line, in particular, really hits home:

    “There’s an enormous amount of guilt that you feel when you’ve made a bad decision that doesn’t just impact your own life, but someone else’s as well…”.

    I was the catalyst for Aaron and I moving back to Boston, and although he was mostly on board, he felt like he left a lot of great career opportunities in SF. We’re in a good place now (his career is better than ever), but it took months for him to “get over it”, so to speak.

    I can imagine how hard it would be to not have a set date for moving back to FL, but I think it’s awesome that you’re able to appreciate the good things about your current situation.

  12. 14


    This is why I haven’t moved to the burbs. I love being able to drive out there and hang out, but I feel like I would always be “when I lived in Brooklyn, this” or “when we lived in the city” that. We’re just cityfolk. Yes, that comes with some sacrifices, like a yard and such, but I love it here, and for us, it’s worth it.

  13. 15


    We picked up and moved to Texas in 2008 and it was heartbreaking. my family moved to Colorado to retire near us, my husbands family lived there, and we had a young daughter and a newborn too. I did not want to go. 4 years later I am not satisfied living here but can not imagine living the life we had there. I would have to work, I would never see my kids or husband, and we would be drowning in debt.
    Here we are as happy as we can be living away from our family. I hope you find peace where ever you end up. No wrong decisions if they feel right at the time!

  14. 16


    Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you don’t carry too much guilt, hindsight is always 50/50, right? I think that every person makes at least one bad decision that carries a lot of weight. Those are the hardest to forgive yourself but I think that admitting that it was a mistake shows that you learned from your experience. No one is perfect!

  15. 17


    Ugh love what a nightmare, you will get back to Florida in the end though! And like someone commented above, there is no wrong decisions if they feel right at the time. :) I know there is no worse a feeling though than constantly feeling like you should be somewhere else living a (kind of) different life. I can completely relate to you especially right now as we are in Cyprus and are looking at what to do if Luke gets another contract. I would rather be in a million other places than Cyprus to be honest (although I know it has it’s plus points!) but for Luke the job would be too good to turn down. Its up to me then either make certain sacrifices with my education or with my relationship. Such a hard choice to make, either one could impact us massively. Ahh but rather than have that constant knot in my stomach I am trying to take a leaf out of your book and just live in the moment, enjoy what we have and not stress over what could be. For somebody who also likes instant gratification and a plan it’s damn hard!! Any tips you have are welcome! ;D

  16. 18


    Oh Gina, thank you so much for sharing all of this! You are so brave! I so admire people who share personal struggles on their food blogs…if only because I can not do the same. I reached out once (my maple creme brulee post), and I regret it to this day. Anytime that post gets hits, I want to run away and hide.

    Can I tell you how much it means for you to say age 24-28 are rough years???? I have been feeling that way so much lately! I’m 27. Everyone says ‘go be free and run wild in your 20s.’ Ok, I did that. It was fun. Now I’m going on 5 years in a state 2000 miles away from my family and desperately trying to get back home. I’m entrenched in my career here, but I want to move home. Some days, I just want to quit everything and go home and live off my savings until I find a job down South. But I can’t. My family & friends keep telling me the smart thing to do is wait until I find a job in the South, and THEN move. I’m trying to be patient, but it’s just not working. I want to fly South again, much like you.

    Thanks again for sharing your struggle and experiences. Your words have touched me greatly :)

    • 19

      Running to the Kitchen says

      It’s funny because it’s so hard to write and share these type of posts but I find myself always being drawn to the ones others write. It’s like a sneak peak into the “real” parts of people’s lives and it’s refreshing to know it’s not all beautiful food and happy relationships and everything else you read on a blog, although I will always be drawn to pretty food. :) I loved your creme brulee post. 1. because the damn creme brulee looked awesome but 2. because it was so honest and real. No need to run and hide! ;)
      I hope your last 2 years in your 20’s ease up a bit and you get back home or at least to a point of clarity with it all. The not knowing and interim is the hardest part sometimes. While I’m not exactly embracing turning 30 soon, I’m thinking I should look at it more as a “peace out 20’s, you sucked” party rather than an “omg, I’m 30″ kind of thing ;)

  17. 20


    I share your Type A “instant gratification” tendencies and have made similar decisions in the past ~ I have learned so much from those struggles, but still haven’t found a way to totally stop myself from making the same hasty decisions twice. Thank you for this honest post!!!

  18. 21

    Annie says

    “I’ve also come to finally understand why people say your 30s are the best years of your life because 24-28 were r.o.u.g.h. At least I’m going out with a good year (minus finding all these damn gray hairs!) but wow, making life changing decisions at 25 is kind of hard.”

    First of all, hi! First time poster here. I’m a runner and cyclist (and future swimmer) who loves loves loves food. Thus, I love your blog. =)

    You will LOVE being 30.

    I am about to turn 32. It wasn’t until this year that I realized how FABULOUS it is to be in my 30s and, as much fun as I had in my 20s, how the 20s actually sucked. My best friends are in their mid 20s and I’m constantly reminded by how stressful they feel like they have to be in order to make their world live up to their standards (that was once ME!). I’ve chilled about 1000 degrees since I turned 30. At 30, I realized that I don’t know it all but you know what? – I don’t care! My life is unlike what I thought it would be but you know what? – whatever!!! I’m engaged 5 years and going but you know what? – What the heck is the rush! You get the drift. At 30, you just stop caring the stuff around you and just start living the cozy, warm little life you and DH have together. You also stop trying to fix other people’s problems and – while of course you still do care about family and friends – other people’s problems are forgotten as soon as they are out of sight.

    So as you see, 30 is a lovely, peaceful existence.

    Plus, if you run, cycle or anything of the like at 30, you already look much better than half the people who are 30. At least that’s what I am reminded when I log into fb!

  19. 22


    Wow, when you were describing your time in FL and NY over lunch in Philly, I didn’t realize it was quite so fraught! I haven’t experienced quite the same thing, but the limbo that comes with the academic job market was similarly anxiety-inducing… Basically, for my final two years of grad school Brent and I lived with the constant awareness that the next several years of our lives would be dictated by whatever universities happened to be hiring in whichever part of the country, where they happened to pick me out of the 100-800 people also applying for the positions. We were prepared to live apart for a few years, we assumed that one of us would be jobless for a long while… we came up with every possible scenario just so that we could be ready for the worst case.

    Ultimately, I got really really lucky and landed a job close enough to Philly that we were able to stay in our house and Brent was able to keep the job that he loves (even though it came with a two-hour-each-way commute for me). But man, just thinking about those two years of limbo is enough to keep me off the job market for a long time.


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