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backyard to burn in the wood stove to heat the house. Jessica Frisco
We regularly use more power tools than I can count, and I have become an amateur tradesman who can start a generator, split a log, and replace a condensate neutralizer pump on an HVAC system. Now, with all the work and commitments I’ve put into my new home, it feels like I’m building a foundation for the long-term.
I’ve been lucky enough to keep my career, at least for now
Like many New Yorkers with an office job, the pandemic forced my company to go fully remote which allowed me to move while keeping my job. I’m able to work as a healthcare director from 9-to-5 remotely in our upstairs office room, across from my fiancé. My job may go back to being in-person a few days a month at some point; while the commute to the city will be long, it will give me a chance to visit and see friends.
Thinking about the long-term, the opportunities in my field local to Vermont are limited. It would be difficult to find a comparable job that wasn’t remote or based elsewhere in the Northeast. But living here has made me think about alternatives I never previously considered, especially given how friendly the state is to small business. Could I get into a trade, or open a retail store? Maybe one day.
A new happy place
Looking back on my anxieties prior to leaving the big city for a tiny town, I’m sure I was worried about losing a big piece of the identity I had created for myself in NYC: that of a hard worker with a packed schedule, up on culture and politics and surrounded by fascinating people. The move to Dummerston made me realize it was just as much about what I brought to a place as what the place offered me. My new town has all the foundational elements to make an engaging and excellent life here too, and I’m excited to have taken the leap.
In April, my fiancé and I went back to NYC for a friend’s birthday. The city seemed the same, but I no longer felt like investing in its endless opportunities. I’m sure I’ll be back for work and to visit friends and family, but from now on, my identity is a bit more centered in my happy place in Dummerston.
Jessica Frisco is a director at an NYC-based healthcare network. She is a registered nurse and holds a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University.