I’ve always wanted to live somewhere else. Anywhere else. When I was younger I was so envious of my cousins that got to live on farms in Iowa – they had farm cats (and kittens!), they had family nearby to spend time with, they were each others best friend. It was so foreign to what I was used to that it seemed so much better than what I had. After visiting San Francisco in high school I just *knew* that was were I should end up – access to great seafood (and food in general), the Ghiradelli factory, an ocean nearby and the big city life all called out to me. During my study abroad in college I felt at home in Europe, it didn’t matter where – everything was so glamorous, foreign and the accents sold me immediately. I would have sold an organ if it meant knowing I could call Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam…. my home. (c’mon ladies, am I right on the accent thing?)
After graduation I had friends stay in Fort Collins/Denver, move to the mountains a few hours away, move to Texas, move to Philadelphia – most of them left the familiar. Part of me always felt like I was missing out on not moving, on staying just where I had always been. How could I consider myself a real grownup if I lived 15 minutes from the home I grew up in? What experiences was I missing? It’s something that both haunts and compels me. What are the merits to living near family? What are the merits of branching out on your own.
I day-dream about strapping on a back pack and just going to Italy with a one way ticket. I fantasize about spending a year volunteering in Africa. I crave exploring a new city and making it my own.
On the other side of the coin…
I love that my mom is only 10 minutes away. I feel incredibly lucky to see both sides of our family (both mine and Christian’s) in some capacity each week. It’s wonderful to know that if I have a desperate need, that there will be someone there for me. Life is sometimes harsh and sometimes short. Do we, in the end, regret the adventure or regret the time spent with the ones we love. If only the answer was clear.
Frankly, I don’t know where to draw the line. The grass is always greener on the other side (or is it where you water it?). I feel inexplicably torn between finding and building the life I’ve always dreamed of and holding on to the treasured one I have. Most of the time its hard to tell where the dream starts and the need begins, just as its hard to know what at my core I really desire when both push so hard at my seams.
How do you know? Do you wait for the big “aha” moment? The irony of all the wishing for family close by and now, in part, wishing for a far off adventure is not lost on me. One of my aspirations for this year is to live my life with a little more intention. Do I just live, intentionally, in the moment or is this the year to push, intentionally, for change?