Recently I came across a post by Penelope Trunk, the famous career writer. Never mind that I envy her fame and ability to be totally outrageous (alas, my life doesn’t include a stint as a volleyball player and a series of dramatic romantic scenarios – and I don’t write about family). She’s always got something for us to think about.
In 2009 Penelope published this blog post, which I only came across recently (unless I read it before and forgot it). She has what amounts to a 5-item checklist for deciding where to move. Read the original here.
So let’s take these items one at a time.
Live by water. It’s hard to find a place that doesn’t have a lake, dam or river, even if you’re inland. I’d say this advice is good because these places often have higher real estate values and will be attractive to many kinds of people.
However, I’d question the source of her data. Trunk refers to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This article suggests a correlation between FMD (Frequent Mental Distress) and where you live. FMD is defined as “having 14 or more days in the previous month when one felt burdened by stress, depression or emotional problem.” Read the article here.
If you had a statistics course your antennae should begin waving: correlation is not causation. When I searched for details, I discovered that FMD “prevalence” was less than 8% in 15.9% of the 3113 counties surveyed and was greater than 12% in 16.1% of counties. Variance existed across counties – not states – but “consistent multicounty patterns” with over 12% FMD included Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. Tennessee and Ohio have lots of lakes and Virginia’s on a coast.
The study’s investigator didn’t point to living by water; he noted that FMD could be linked to access to community mental health centers. So you might be advised to live in a county with good mental health services, which might be correlated with socioeconomic status of the population, distance from a big city, and other factors.
I’ll look at the other items in my next post.