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we keep asking where we are going

My Boston friends –  those dear grad school survivors, adjunct professors, teachers, librarians, writers, readers. All talkers, drinkers, dreamers, and laughers.  We get together regularly but with enough time passing between visits to warrant a proper life update. How’s your semester, how’s your classroom, how’s your new job, how’s your novel. What are you up to? What are you reading? Where have you been? Where are you going?

That last one is the conversation I’ve had over and over again. Where are you going? We are all going somewhere. We talk about cities we’ve loved, places we’d like to visit, homes we will someday have. Maybe this is a product of being Boston transplants ourselves – we landed here a few years ago for school, but also for Boston. The chance to live here. Maybe we are already stuck, but we chose Boston not that long ago; why not choose again? Before we are all too old. Before we are really stuck.

We all have places we’d like to go. Back to Los Angeles. Home to Colorado, to Michigan, to the Midwest. Try those Chicago winters out for size. The Pacific Northwest. North Carolina. Overseas for a few years.

But here we all sit, in the greater Boston metro area, still drinking, laughing, dreaming. Dreaming at 28 feels different than at 24. Like you have a last ditch attempt to force your life in one direction before life starts dragging you around behind it. Pressure. Nothing feels any clearer than 24.

So much weight put upon a place, as if happiness can be found with the right combination of luxuries and landmarks. For some folks, life is easier closer to family, or farther away. Life isn’t worth living unless you can see the ocean, go skiing, hike mountains. Some jobs are easily found in some places and impossible to find in others.

I don’t think I am that kind of person. Maybe it would be easier if I was, if there was any sort of impetus pulling me toward a particular zipcode, but then again, it would also be easier if I was more X, more Y, less Z.  But here I am, XYZ, no matter where I go. My life would change if I lived in San Francisco, rural New Hampshire, Baltimore, Cleveland, but it would also stay the same. At a certain point, I have to stop waiting for the Next Step to fall into place and just work with the Step I’m in now. At a certain point, maybe I have to stop worrying about where I’m headed and just be where I’m at.

 

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