Good friends of mine are moving to California. All the way across the country. I'm so happy for them. It's such an exciting time and great adventure for them all. They leave in eight days, and although I know I shouldn't covet other people's stuff/lives/opportunities, I'm going to just yeah-yeah-anyway to the point:
I'm a little jealous.
Not that they're moving to LA, per se. I'm envious of their ability--their willingness--to just pick up and move the hell on outta here. I wish I could do that. Or maybe I wish I wanted to do that.
I love the idea of picking up, ditching everything that's not necessary and starting over in a new place. A new town. New everything. I love the idea of reinventing myself just by relocating. Of discovering new things about myself and my place in the world simply by changing my personal pinpoint on a map.
But... "You'd be miserable," said The Husband.
And he's right.
After the novelty of a move wore off, I'd be terribly homesick. Not because I absolutely adore the crime and high taxes of New Haven. But because I'd miss home. I'd miss being close to family and the friends I've had forever. I'd miss favorite landmarks, watering holes, restaurants, parks and beaches that have helped define my life thus far. I'd deeply miss the culture of my city, a town that is as synonymous with Yale as it is independent of it. I'd miss my mom stopping by on her way home from a meeting downtown. I'd miss summertime lunches on Grandma's back porch. I'd miss running into my BFF in East Shore Park. I'd miss running in to all the friends I see everywhere I go, reminding me of the things I like most about New Haven and myself. I'd miss all of my roots, which go back generations, in this city that struggles to keep its own identity amidst Yale's ferocious appetite for ever-more tax-free city property.
Yes there would be a lot to love about a new place to call home. But this is home. Every chance I've had to make a fresh start has been right here, right where I already am. In my own skin. With the same people around me. Being stuck--er, living--here has reinforced the concept that change really does come from within. Or something like that.
The only time I've lived elsewhere was when I spent three years in Fairfield, back in the late 90's. It was...nice. I was right on the Gold Coast, so how couldn't it be nice? I shopped in Westport on the weekends. I hopped onto the courts and smacked a tennis ball around with my then-fiance (eventual ex-husband) alongside some extremely wealthy people. I enjoyed seersucker-drenched clam bakes on the town beach. But when it came time to put down real roots, to buy a house, I went home. I couldn't afford Fairfield, anyway. And besides, I was having a baby. I wanted to be home. And six years later, when my divorce was final, I moved back to the side of town I grew up in. I never needed to be home more than then. And the high tides and harbor breezes were like open arms.
So home is where I've been, for better or for worse. While I wish I could pack up my things and start anew somewhere completely different from anything I've ever known, I couldn't--especially because I would never take my children that far from their father.
"You just need a vacation," Ian said. "Anything more than that would drive you crazy."
Maybe. As the kids get older, maybe I'll feel more free to move. But certainly not to LA. Maybe somewhere a whole lot better than that. Like... Rome? The kids would like Italy. Nolan would dig the architecture and history of the city, and Sean could hop into Switzerland any time to snowboard.
That thought crossed my mind as I pumped gas into my Subaru at lunch today. It was at least 90 degrees out there on the blacktop, while I daydreamed about a Fiat 500 and wondered much cheaper it would be to just drive a Vespa to work. In Italy.
"If I'd known it was you, I would've pumped the gas for ya", I heard a voice say as I screwed the gas cap back on to my car. Coach Anthony, the adorable Italian mama's boy who coached the boys' little league team last year, enveloped me in a huge hug.
"How are those awesome kids of yours doin'?"
"Good. Season's still not over. See you in the playoffs in two weeks?"
"Not if I see you first." Wink. Smile. Nod, chin-up. He climbed back into his big box truck for work. I climbed back into my little Subaru and headed on back to the office, passing Grandma's house along the way.