I want to talk to you for a few minutes about leaving.
If you’ve known me for any length of time, then you’ve probably heard some variation of my moving stories, that I spent the first 18 years at one address, and then made up for lost time by moving what seemed like twice a year. Some of the moves were big – 4 times across the country in one direction or another – and some were small, like the 3 different apartments in San Francisco in an 18 month period.
The problem with moving so many times is that it creates a feeling of rootlessness and restlessness, and fosters a separation between myself and those around me. It still surprises me that I have so many good friends and people who care about me in my life, considering how often I’m quick to abandon where I’m living. Most of my moves have been made with a careless, directionless energy, done more as a knee-jerk reaction to life, always choosing flight instead of fight when life turned hard or I wasn’t getting what I felt I deserved.
That’s part of what is making this move difficult, because I can recognize my patterns and find myself feeling like I’m doing it again, especially if I choose not to focus on the positives, and there are many, that are part of this transition. Mostly, though, I think some of that disappointment comes from how excited I was to move back here. I will never forget that feeling I had, when i sat down on the plane to come work on a novel two months before I moved back, when I knew I was going home. It was inexplicable and undeniable. It might seem like it was also a bit a premature, but I don’t think so.
Home is where we go when we need to, it is the place that takes us in when the rest of the world has thrown us out, it is where we remember who we were and become who we are. i didn’t know 21 months ago that I still had challenges to face, both from without as well as within, but seeing who I am today makes me glad they happened. I’m a changed person in ways I didn’t think imaginable, and I believe that many of those changes have made me a better person.
They say you can’t go home again, and in a sense I think that’s true. The New York I was living in two years ago isn’t the same one I first lived in, and my relationship with Key West today is not the same one it was in 2005 when I first moved here. But both those places, as well as Connecticut, will always be home to me, because they are the places responsible for making me the person I am. If you can carry that with you, if you can take those lessons and grow with them and from them, then you don’t have to go home again, because home will always be with you.
Finally, a musical note. Whenever I move, I always post a song, the same song. It’s a beautiful song by my favorite band, all about leaving, but when I was thinking about it the other day, I realized that it is also a truly sad song, a funeral dirge basically, and nobody’s dying today. Don’t get me wrong. I love you more than words can tell, but I’m not going home by the waterside to rest my bones. This song came to mind, and even if most of the lyrics are borderline nonsense, the ones that aren’t are pretty simple and straightforward: follow the day, and reach for the sun. (That the video also features one of my favorite shows is just a bonus.)
I’ll see you when I see you. Peace.