1. You’ve replaced culture with Netflix.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional night in or weekend binge, but you used to actually go out and explore the city, seeking hole-in-the-wall restaurants and new adventures. But it never quite seemed rewarding enough. Now you just feel tired at the thought of taking two buses to get back to your apartment after an evening of hanging out with suits/hipsters/people. Your current idea of a pleasant evening is watching Netflix and eating peanut butter and jelly straight out of the jars. (Just cutting out the middleman. I don’t need you, bread!)
2. You can’t find any quality professionals, medical or otherwise.
You’re a monogamist at heart, but you skip through hairdressers like a serial philanderer. And your doctor has no idea why your stomach hurts and your hair’s falling out.
Is it you? The friend who cut your hair all through college was great. Your old gyno didn’t make you break out in a cold sweat. In fact, it’s not just professionals. You don’t have any regular hangouts, coffee shops, or happy hours.
3. You hate the tiny metal box that slowly drags you across town every day.
Your commute makes you want to go back to school for genetics just to figure out how to alter your DNA so you’ll have hollow bones and wings. You’ll be a genetically-modified outcast, frowned upon by society, BUT YOU’LL NEVER BE STUCK IN TRAFFIC AGAIN, SUCKAS!
4. All your friends have left.
Maybe you just live in one of those transient cities–people come to pay their dues, get some job experience, and then they either move on or move home. Sure, you can make new friends. But eventually, it’ll reach a point where you see a cool chick with the same Sherlock iPhone cover, or a bunch of guys in your raw food class try to strike up a conversation about your cruelty-free lip balm, and you can’t even talk to them BECAUSE THEY’LL JUST LEAVE YOU LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, AND YOU DON’T WANT TO GET YOUR HEART BROKEN AGAIN, OKAY? Okay.
5. You’re clawing the walls. Any walls. All walls.
Your last three apartments had bug problems, and no matter how much you stretch your budget, you will never live within twenty minutes of work. You also obsess over how loud your neighbors are, and where did the people above you suddenly get an army of toddlers? Or are they putting clogs on their cat now?
Some of this can be solved by doing a little extra homework and moving to a new apartment. But when you’ve had a series of overpriced, underinsulated studios the size of a utility closet, it might just be the status quo.
6. Can’t get no satisfaction. Professionally, of course.
You don’t dislike your job, but you don’t love it either. Every day just blurs together into a swirl of “Ugh.” You’ve checked your city’s job listings, but you don’t see anything that makes you want to fire off your resume and iron your interview jacket. It just doesn’t seem worth it to apply for something else. Even though your productivity is lacking, your job is ultra-secure due to the number of people in your department who keep quitting.
7. You’re not depressed; everything is just blah.
Even though everything around you feels like a soul-sucking vortex of meh, you know you’re not depressed. You can cheer yourself up if you work really hard. Especially by planning vacations. To far away places. Probably visiting all those friends who left.
Depression is a real, clinical thing, but you’ve just been feeling sort of bleh for a long time. Even on days when the bus comes according to schedule, and there’s no traffic, and the sun is shining, and your boss sends out an email praising your work on a recent project. You’re still counting down the days/weeks/months till your next reprieve. Weekends aren’t long enough. And no matter what, the best place to be is on your couch, eating out of jars with a spoon like a philistine.
8. Home is more than where you hang your hat.
You still refer to your hometown as “home.” You don’t tell people you’re “visiting your parents,” or “staying at your brother’s place.” You say that you’re going home.
Also, you go there a lot–and not just because of that time last Christmas when your nephew looked up from his trains and asked, “Who ARE you?”
9. You’ve got a wandering eye.
You’re checking out apartments in other cities on Padmapper. You know, just to see. You’re also Googling things like “moving to new city without job” and “best cities for young professionals.”
10. Home is where the heart is.
And yours just isn’t here. It just isn’t. Whether you miss your family, or you’re paying big bucks to live in a shoebox, or you just feel ready to Hulk out at any moment walking down the street–you know when it’s time to go.
No single one of these things means that you should stuff your essentials into a bag, burn the rest, and hitchhike up the interstate hoping for bluer skies. However, if you look at a bunch of these and think, “ARE YOU IN MY HEAD, WIZARD?” Then you might want to consider a little relocation.