Today marks the sixth anniversary of my move to California. For those unfamiliar with the story, a recap:
I used my already-overburdened credit card to buy a one-way flight to L.A. after spending my first year and a half after college working a series of depressing temp jobs in the Washington, D.C. area. I was a receptionist for a third-party insurer; I copied legal documents at a law firm; I answered inbound calls at a florist; I updated technical manuals and shipped aircraft parts from a warehouse. I was paying rent to live with my parents deep in the suburbs. I was spending one and a half to two and a half hours in my car every day. One of my coworkers was my only friend in the area. I hadn’t dated anyone since graduation, and my ex-boyfriend, with whom I had a complicated relationship but nevertheless had remained a close friend, called me long-distance on my birthday to tell me he wasn’t going to talk to me anymore.
You could say I wasn’t very happy.
But three days after that flight to the west coast on January 6, 2005, I had an actual date with an actual person. One month after that, I started the first day of my new job. Two months after that, I met the beau. The years that followed weren’t necessarily as easy, and I’m not trying to say that CALIFORNIA! solved all my problems. But California was definitely my catalyst for major change.
And now? Change is back again. Peering in my windows. Knocking at my door. Digging through my kitchen cabinets and yelling, “Don’t we have anything to EAT around here?”
I want to move again, and people keep looking at me like I’m crazy. Leave California? Yes, leave California. I understand that in places that are Not California that there may be snow and/or other undesirable weather conditions. I hear that Not California tends to have less access to organic foods and urban coastal liberalism and other white middle-class problems. I understand that Not California is different! And yet I still want to go there! Wherever that is! Because, goddammit, I have but one life to live. Why waste it in one town?
Moving isn’t the only issue at hand, here. The beau and I keep talking about Our Future, and none of it makes any real sense yet. Now that we’ve gotten through the wedding and are married, we keep sorting through this bin of ideas but we never really take any up to the counter for check-out. We want to move somewhere! We need new jobs/careers! We would like to buy a house! We would like to acquire a dog! In which order should those things go? How do we even get from point A to point B in the first place?
The wedding enabled me to shove all this crap onto the backburner for about 1.5 years. But now a new year is here, and so is the guilt about my inactivity. [Sidebar: why does the transition from one year to another always involve some kind of guilt? Why can’t it involve, like, maple bars and rainbows and folding money found in coat pockets and people who smile at you in the street?]
I don’t have any of the answers yet, just questions. And the overwhelming urge to climb under the nearest pile of blankets and stay there until maybe the new new year. But it’s times like this I have to remember: I got myself out of undesirable situations before. I can do it again.