Another big decision that I will be making in the next year and a half is where I want to live. I'm 99% certain it's not here. Once my self-imposed time limit is up, so to will be my lease. I've already lived in this apartment for three years, the longest I've lived in one place since high school. I want to move on.
At the moment, I REALLY want to leave Michigan. Again. I doubt I'll move as far away as last time, when I moved to southern Maryland, but it will be further south. I'm tired of the winter. I do have two backup Michigan cities with East Lansing and Grand Rapids. The first has Michigan State, giving me access to cultural events. The later, which I just started thinking about, is supposed to be a nice place to live, in general. I'm still looking into what is there.
My top, and currently only, non-Michigan city is one you may recognize: Bloomington, IN. This city contains what was my number one choice PhD program. In fact, I know that Indiana University hires programmers. If that doesn't pan out, and I would make sure I have a job before moving anywhere, there is a community college where I could teach. With a population of about 85k, it's about the right size. I would like either 75k and fairly stable or 50k and growing.
Indiana and Illinois are both viable to me, as is western Pennsylvania. I wouldn't mind living near Philly, but it's a bit too far away from my family. I don't think I could live in Ohio; I'm sure it's a nice state, but I never cared for what I saw when driving through it. Granted, I'm sure it's better than I'm giving credit for, and I'm probably influenced by my family, but Ohio is off my list.
Right now, I would like to find two or three more options. I also have a week-long trip planned to Bloomington this summer to check it out. No point in trying to move somewhere if I've never even been there before.
What are my other criteria? A university/community college nearby, some cultural events, fairly close to an expressway, within an hour of an airport, not too cold or hot, not too far from Michigan so I can visit my family, not too big or small or a city/town, somewhat spread out, not a part of a larger metropolitan area, have plenty of parks, and fairly diverse. Bloomington seems to fit all of these criteria (from what I've read). Even the Find Your Spot website (http://www.findyourspot.com/) listed Bloomington in my top five.
East Lansing also fits many of my criteria, except that it's too cold. I like the college town atmosphere, though. And I have a cousin who seems to want to live there. I might visit there on a couple of weekends if my my trip to Bloomington doesn't go as planned. I also need to find some other places to visit. Oddly enough, Bloomington, IL looks kinda nice. Maybe I'll take two weeks and explore both cities this summer.