Why I’m leaving Buffalo

It’s not just because I’m graduating

I graduate in about a month in a half.

I know I don’t want to live in Buffalo next year – but I wasn’t always against staying here.

Just a couple of months ago I was absolutely sure I would be staying in Buffalo after graduation. At the time I had made the decision to stay, all my roommates thought they were going to be living in Buffalo as well and we were looking at a house to live in together.

I decided to live in Buffalo partially because of peer pressure as well as the safe feeling of the decision. I don’t particularly like Buffalo’s weather – it was 65 degrees on Sunday and 40 degrees on Monday, and in a week it’s supposed to be 30 and possibly snowing; no thanks. I also went through some pretty bad depression at this school that I still struggle with some days.

So this place isn’t all sunshine and rainbows to me.

I initially made the decision to live here despite these things because I knew I’d be living with people I like. Then one of our roommates had to back out of living with us for financial reasons, so we all had to rethink the entire situation.

I thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it.

I’m the kind of person that has problems making little decisions. Take me to a new restaurant and give me six years, then I might be ready to order if you give me five more years. Making a big decision like this all over again made me sweaty, to say the least.

After hours of obsessing and a few sticks of Old Spice later, I decided I wasn’t going to stay in Buffalo. Sure, I could live a comfortable life in this city. Yes, I would have friends and could probably find a job. Yep, I could dig my car out of a mountain of snow for months on end and drive on roads that would make people from southern cities heads implode. I could do all of that.

But I wouldn’t be doing what I want to do.

Deep down, I knew I wanted to leave Buffalo and live someplace different. But I was letting fear get in the way. My thoughts started getting the best of me. What if my depression hits again and I end up eating Olympic pool-sized cartons of ice cream alone in my apartment? What if I lose my job and end up homeless and have to warm my hands over one of those barrel fires while wearing fingerless gloves? What if I end up like SpongeBob in that one episode and resort to drawing faces on my fingers because I have no friends?

I joke, but in all honesty ending up without friends or in a very poor financial situation or insanely depressed are things I worry about in moving someplace new. They’re things that scare me but I won’t let them hold me back from what I really want.

I want to live in a large city that’s warm and sunny. Originally, I had decided on San Diego specifically but that’s too expensive for how much money I’ll most likely be making my first year out of college.

My requirement isn’t that hard to meet, the warm and sunny part is all I really want, but anyone who’s spent a winter here knows Buffalo doesn’t meet it. I’ll decide on a specific city once I start applying for jobs. For now, I’m just keeping it simple.

I feel like this is the part where soft harmonica music starts playing and then I get on my stallion and ride off into the sunset to someplace warmer. But I’m not coordinated enough to get on a horse without falling off so I’ll end with some advice instead.

Leaving Buffalo is the best option for me, but that might not be the case for you. I’m not Doctor Phil and I’m not a therapist but if you’re struggling with a big decision like this, take some time to think it over and realize what you really want. Not what your parents want, not what your friends want, not what society wants – but what you want.

You can afford to be selfish with big life decisions because you’re the only one that has to live your life. Once you’ve decided just pull the trigger and do it, no matter how much fear or anxiety you might have.

If you go outside of your comfort zone and fail, you can try again until you get it right. But if you don’t even try at all then regret is the only thing you’ll have – cue harmonica.

John Jacobs is the assistant features editor and can be reached at john.jacobs@ubspectrum.com.