Well, I think that in my case, the best way to follow this advice is to be in Fredericton, New Brunswick right now. So here I am.
I'm documenting the story on this website because it's much bigger than me. It's about the choices that many young people must make and why they choose the paths they do. It's also about places we live in and love, and the places we leave. En masse, young grads in Canada tend to flock to the country's biggest, shiniest cities. There are many good reasons for this that I'll explore over time. I loved Toronto hard and still do, but I believe that the cities many young people leave behind - the ones described as "struggling," or "declining" in the news - have not sung their final cantata. There is much to love in places like Fredericton, which offer the alternative so many of us seek. It's not the car-dependent suburbia where I grew up (which I couldn't afford to live in even if I wanted to), and it's not an expensive big city where rent costs will eat you alive. Instead, it's a small and friendly place that still boasts the urbanity, local shops and festivals that constitute ~60% of the appeal of city living (by my estimation).
Perhaps more importantly, the lower cost of living in these urban environments allows us to take more risks. The brilliant Sarah Kendzior puts this in the context of social revolution, but it just as easily applies to personal goals.
Fear inhibits innovation. In expensive cities, people live in constant fear. A small wrong move can upend everything, so they conform, terrified of losing their jobs, apartments, health insurance. They conform intellectually, and they conform in behavior. They cling to a career ladder with a drop-off to hell. I don’t judge them. People do what they need to do to survive. But when survival is an aspiration, society has failed.
When the cost of living is low, you have less to lose by losing. It is terrible to be poor and precarious anywhere. But it is far worse in expensive cities powered on the exploitation of ambition, cities where so much rides on so little opportunity. It is more liberating to live in a place where the illusions have already been shattered.
Where did you move after you finished school? What inspired your decision and are you happy with it?