This latest move doesn’t feel like a transition. It feels like an alternate universe.
Somewhere in the recesses of my memory is a life before. But that life seems foreign and distant, like a dream.
Sometimes I am shaken with the realization that I really did it. I really quit the job I loved and packed up and moved to a new house in a new state to take a new job, again. After dreaming of living in this place for so long, it seemed like an impossibility. Yet here it is. I am living it.
This course of drastic change seems so stark compared to the life before.
Just months earlier, I stood in airport in some city somewhere for the 20th time last year. Announcements echoed through the corridor, funneling people into lines that led to seats that led to flights to faraway places. Suitcase wheels buzzed around me as rivers of people wearing scarves and holding Starbucks cups and talking on cell phones flowed through the hallways.
I stood like rock in that river, as people moved to bump and splash on either side. I felt as though that moment was a little analogous to the life I was living.
Everywhere were birth announcements and engagements and job changes and life events. I seemed to be in the midst of that steady stream of change, standing, unmoved. I watched the metamorphosis of many a friend go from single to engaged to married to motherhood. Years passed as these events took course in their lives, one after another after another.
That day in the airport, as I looked back, it was if I had been watching a time lapse video of their lives in motion. And all the while, amid the flurry, I stood still.
Then something shifted. It was so slight at the beginning. Like a boulder that has sat perched on a crux, motionless for years. Then some internal, unseeable settling sends it rolling. I felt it in my core one day — that shift — and knew the tumble was coming.
From my spinning viewpoint at the center of it, I watched my world morph into something new. Here I am, at a conclusion and a new beginning. And finally, at the end of still.
The lights from the city are glowing off to my left as my car glides through the tos and fros of this six-lane artery. This is usually when I wait in ambivalence for the drive to be over. But tonight I feel prickles of nostalgia come over me in the peace brought by the darkness and the staccato beats of the white dotted lines ticking by.
I’ve lived my entire adult life in this state, never quite feeling at home in my mind, but somehow making one of it. I’ve talked endlessly about my native state with stubborn loyalty and complained about the politics and softness of the culture here. Yet, now that I am faced with leaving, suddenly all the good things I will miss surface.
I will miss the warmth of the sunshine, which never seems daunted by winter rains for long.
I will miss the frothy beaches set against rocky crags.
I will miss year-round biking though oak flanked clay single-track trails.
I will rivers flowing over granite and fields of wine grapes tucked in blankets of mustard flowers.
But most of all, I will miss the pockets of friends I have scattered throughout different cities I have lived here. The ones I explored the mountains with. The ones I worked with. The ones I ran with. The ones I prayed with. The ones I sat in church with. The ones I traveled with. The ones I lived next to. The ones who I stayed up late dreaming about this very move with.
Suddenly my future seems like a blank page without them to help me write my stories. And yet I know there will others who will take up the pen.
But for now, I can’t help but feel a loss at leaving this state.