Should I stay or should I go?
I’ve moved house over 23 times since the age of 18, so I know a bit about saying goodbye. In fact, moving is so second nature to me that I wonder if I’m Telfon coated. I get energized by change and I do seem to get a bit itchy to move every 2-3 years. Right around when I notice the dust bunnies. House looking a bit grubby? Time to move.
I’ve also moved city, state and country a few times.. starting at the age of 3 months when I was carried into the station wagon and driven to Germany. I’d like to say that the move to Northern Italy at the age of 3 was driven by me, but likely I just ate my gellatio and looked out of the window.
Moving to the US was a big move, but once I got here, I bounced around from city to city; clothes in Denver, boyfriend in Vancouver, project in Dallas. Lets just say, I had bras in three states and two countries. Laundry day was complex.
But I’m happy when I’m making a move. As long as I have a phone, and these days, internet, I know my friends are only a text away, and these days I spend a lot of my friend time ‘virtually’. In fact, its easier to maintain friendships than ever, and with technology, the expectation that you’ll see each other every week no longer holds. Even if you live in the same city there isn’t the same ‘what on earth have you been up to?’ evening since everyone’s on Facebook and I know exactly what you’ve done since January. These days I have good friends all over, from Seattle, Houston, San Francisco and Milwaukee to London and soon to be Portland.
When friends move away its always strange to watch other people’s reactions. While its not a romantic relationship, the stages are weirdly similar. From denial (‘oh she’s not actually going to leave town’) to anger (‘ really? you’re leaving? why on earth?) to bargaining (‘but what about all your friends?’) to finally acceptance (‘when’s the leaving party?’).
It can be fraught and emotionally charged, with the person staying taking it harder than the one who is leaving. And so I wasn’t surprised to hear these stories from a friend, who I caught up with for our last pedicure before she and her husband head off for a new adventure in Portland.
She was confused that people weren’t happy about her leaving, and seemed unable to mirror the joy that she is finding at the prospect of her move. The drama, the tension, the weird behavior.. of those being left. I guess in a way its like she’s just asked for a divorce.
And while I may be one of the few who won’t be sobbing on her shoulders as she leaves – hell, she’s not dying, just moving – I can’t help but think about whether I should revisit my plan to leave the state and have an adventure of my own.
Without a mortgage or spouse, now is the perfect time to make the leap and finally move somewhere without snow in May or June or July, where Texan drivers don’t drive across 5 lanes at 80mph without warning and where I could actually make it through winter without thermal underwear.
I started looking at places to live and I have to say, Northern California ain’t bad. As long as I stay away from the hippies, the do gooders and people who’ve never left the city.. I can sort of see myself there. By water. And culture. And hills. And wine.
But, like my old wool socks, I’ve gotten comfortable with Colorado this last year (yes, it took a while) and I’m torn between the desire for change, and the desire to dig my roots in deeper.
I sort of like our cow town origins, the ridiculousness that we call weather and the fact that I feel safe whenever I’m out and about. I like my local friends, my job and my neighbors; I like knowing I can hop on my bike and be at the top of a pass in 40 minutes, and that jeans are still acceptable wear in every restaurant in town. And while I wish people weren’t so conventional and damn Mid Western nice, I’m sort of conventional and nice myself. Plus if I moved I have to find a new therapist and a new mechanic.
That shit’s tricky y’all.
So I guess my burning desire to leave isn’t burning a trail just yet, so for now, I’m enjoying watching someone else move.
And as my friend heads off on her Portland adventure, armed with 2 dogs, a snake, a husband and some books, I know I’ll miss taco night and pedicures, our Christmas Eve schnaps drinking and her European sensibility. But I won’t miss her.
I know she’s a click or a short flight away, and damn, she’s got all the good restaurants now.
She might as well make up my bed already.