There are a number of reasons why I’m leaving Las Cruces, and I’ve shared some of those reasons in a previous post before I had actually made up my mind to go. In the end, my decision was based on a number of factors that include short term financial needs, longer term financial goals, a clearer understanding of how to balance solitude with community, and the need to prioritize my energies toward writing and creative pursuits. In addition to—or perhaps in summation of—these factors, is the fuzzy, new age-y feeling that being here, now, is somehow just not quite right.
As I mentioned previously, the financial realities of Las Cruces and the surrounding areas are far bleaker than I expected. Jobs outside of retail or the government are hard to come by and wages are very low. Looking at my likely prospects and doing some basic calculations, I realized that I could most likely support myself when it came to daily living but that it would be unlikely that I could continue to pay back my current debts. Even if I could manage to both support myself and pay off last year’s taxes, my credit card bills, and my student loans, the chances of actually saving money for the future or being able to invest in property or other forms of long terms security were not just slim, but decidedly none.
The thought of 10 years from now and living as poor as I do (and have been) is profoundly disturbing to me. I want to be clear though, the whole money thing is not so much about acquiring things as it is about a feeling of security and creating a level of freedom and mobility that I don’t have. That I’ve never really had. I don’t need 10 houses, but I would like to have at least one to call home. I don’t need to fly first class, but I would like to visit friends that are scattered in various parts of the country. I don’t need the most expensive car, but it would be nice to have one (a hybrid hopefully) that is economical but with low mileage so I don’t have to worry about it when driving on long trips. Now, I certainly won’t be able to achieve this level of security overnight, but in the short term, Rhode Island offers higher wages and significantly more job opportunities that will use a wider range of my professional skills.
That’s short term. Longer term goals revolve around becoming my own boss, owning my own business so that I can achieve a level of independence, flexibility and self-determination that are difficult to find when working for someone else.
The consulting/training business that I am planning combines theatre and teaching—both of which I’m rather fond of—with a real need in the business world. While I don’t want to discuss the particulars here, I will say that the most consistent problem for businesses, whether non-profit or corporate, is that of communication breakdown. At its core, theatre is about communication and theatre training offers a unique set of skills that can be “ported” quite easily to the needs of businesses and to individuals who want to be more effective managers and leaders.
This business will depend on certain infrastructures that are simply not present in Las Cruces or its environs. In fact, given my desire to not live in a big city, but my need for a concentration of businesses, corporations, wealth, and theatre practitioners, Rhode Island is one of the best places for me to go. Providence is small, but will provide a manageable starting place, with a decent amount of corporate presence. Easy access to Boston and NYC mean that I can grow into those markets and exploit the corporate money that saturates both cities. Also, and just as importantly, I know people in Rhode Island. Even though I haven’t lived there in seven years, there are people I can go to for advice, for help, for networking opportunities, for artistic collaboration, and for friendship. Rhode Island provides rich possibilities, not only for my business, but for my personal life and my artistic life.