Maybe it was during one of my hour-long commutes to work that I decided I wanted—no, needed—to live somewhere else. Or maybe it was when I realized exactly how much we'd need to save in order to afford a 20 percent down payment on a house where we were living. Perhaps it was my dissatisfaction with the type of job I would need to continue having in order to earn enough money to afford said down payment. I'm not sure exactly when it was, but once the realization was firmly lodged in my brain, it became a matter of my life's happiness that I make a big move.
Living in a suburb of New York City was...well...draining. My husband and I experienced a chronic shortage of time while we commuted to work (his was worse than mine: two hours each way), used up all of our energy for the day at work, commuted home, and had a couple of hours to ourselves (which more often than I would care to admit consisted of collapsing in front of the TV in a stupor) before having an unsatisfactory sleep. Also, in an effort to save money, we had moved from one small apartment to an even smaller one. We called it our Hobbit House.