Trite. Simplistic. And yet, enormously true. It’s the thing that makes the thought of life after I pick up and move across the country chill the blood in my veins and is the genesis of so much doubt that creeps from my brain into my limbs until my hand and feet are cold with it.
When I was 18, I’d already been to college for a year, started the next year and dropped out. I had the realization that perhaps before spending more tuition money on something I wasn’t enjoying or taking seriously, I ought to figure out what I really wanted. Big ask for an 18 year old. The thought of moving back to Vegas permanently as a college dropout was … unappealing on several fronts, not the least of which was the optics of failure. I have no idea how I came up with the idea of moving to Vancouver Washington, but I did. This was old school, ya’ll. There was no internet to browse and learn about the place. It was the kind of old school where you’ve got to write the chamber of commerce to get them to send you info. I was so committed to the research that I got a couple of their papers delivered so I could see the job ads. I thought I was ready to pack up my little CRX and start over in this place I’d never been where I knew no one. Before I could pack up though, I had a friend point out that I was going to be the exact same person there that I was in Vegas.
I didn’t move. But I did take a good look at what I found wanting about myself and my life and started to build those things while being a college dropout, living with my bestie in Vegas. And that’s about when I really learned to love who I was and become pretty happy with the life I was living.
So this move I alluded to last post has been a process fraught with self-debt that I’ve been measuring, listening to, writing about and ultimately dismissing. Because this isn’t like then. Yes, I’m probably moving somewhere I will know no one in at least a 3 hour radius of me. But Utah was never supposed to be permanent. It was supposed to be a come back, get the graduate degree, get out. And the ex has close family here and changed his mind. And I agreed. And then we divorced, and I decided that it was better for the kiddo if I remained here. And now, she’s at college.
I have no family here (or anywhere not at least a several hour plane ride away) and not too many close friends anymore either. Most have moved away. And living here through Covid has impressed upon me the need to live elsewhere before the next global catastrophe that can be nonsensically politicized. And also, it might be nice not to live somewhere the religious culture doesn’t have its paw-prints all over my life. And that I won’t have to date anyone and discover that when they say they’ve left the church, they really mean they are hiding their non-Mormon lifestyle from their family, friends, and neighbors, so can I please quickly just hide behind that kitchen island with our wine bottle and glasses while he opens the door to his local bishop (church leader) and get the guy to leave to leave without him seeing me or the alcohol (true story and every bit as gross as it sounds).
See. Very. Different. Reasons. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be me whenever I get where I’m going. And “me” for the last many, many years can be too cautious, too careful, too observant instead of living it. Too willing to let life pass me by while I try and make the “right” or “good” decision. Too afraid of the consequences if I make the “wrong” or “bad” decision. So I need a way to prepare for that. I’m going to embrace the idea that decisions don’t have moral value–they just are. It’s an experience to have. If I love it, fabulous. If I don’t, I can make a new decision.
My biggest fear is just to move and be terribly lonely. My friends here are from work, grad school, a local yarn shop and neighbors. When I move, I won’t make friends in grad school or at work (since I’ll be remote). So I want to have a plan to combat it. It occurs to me that simply having a “plan” to meet people and go out is probably, uh, insufficient? Unrealistic? And yet, I’m not sure what else to do. Hmmm. Maybe it’s just a leap of faith… move. And then, make life there what I’d like it to be. I’ve tried a few lives on here, and I feel like they are all like a clothes store where nothing fits right on me and everything leaves me feeling awkward and ungainly.
A town change will not change me. But maybe I could float around in it a bit and discover I can be more me there. Less awkward, more glowy. More comfortable in my own skin. Over time I’ll learn to love people I meet there. They’ll learn to love me too. Maybe I’ll get back to the sort of wonder at what might be around the corner that I used to have years ago. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?
What a great post, and it mirrors what I’ve been thinking lately as well. It’s not about where we’re at, but who we are that changes things. Thanks so much for this wonderful message!
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
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