This time last week I was in Austin with one of my best friends exploring the city. Yesterday I woke up in San Francisco in the Castro district to get coffee with a friend from UNC followed by brunch at a previous coworker’s house. A month ago I was preparing for my cousin’s wedding in Orlando, Florida. Today, I find myself in Seattle wandering around trying to find coffee. Up until this point in my life I’ve always had somewhere to be. A place where I was either required to be or a place where social obligations made it so. In a very odd sense, I now have nowhere in particular to be. It’s freeing and frightening all at the same time. I could literally end up anywhere – Dublin or Denver.
Most people perk up at this idea of pure freedom. It is an incredibly luxury and I’ve been able to see so many wonderful people as a result that I probably wouldn’t see for years. The conundrum is I don’t know where to be or where I even want to be. If I think too much about this, I find myself craving a job where they would force me to move somewhere and stay. At least then the struggle would be to adapt to my surroundings which seems less looming than trying to adapt to the whole world. That’s how it feels right now.
“What are you looking for?” I get asked this a good bit – community is the easy answer. I love pick up soccer and even jumped into touch rugby recently which was an absolute blast. I need overall good weather since I am a Florida person through and through. I want to live in an active and thoughtful place. Although it may seem I’m living haphazardly right now, I’m really am not.
So here I am faced with my very own “Choose your adventure” scenario. It’s a blessing to have this decision. It’s a curse to have to make it.
The feeling of having nowhere to be is two pronged – FREEEDOMMMMM & wait what is wrong with me where I don’t have anywhere to be? I feel like whatever place I move to will affect everything about me – who I fall in love with, what hobbies I develop, how active I’ll be outdoors, etc. It’s like a mini way of playing God with a sliver of your own life. I bounce back and forth from feeling powerful in choosing the direction of my life and sad that I don’t already have that direction.
Most of my life has been spent living as though where I am is a constant that would never alter. I could firmly place two feet on the ground and know that I could trust that feeling. People I met randomly could easily be friends as I very well might meet them again. Last week in Austin I played touch rugby and dragged my best friend into it. At the end, the folks from the meet up wanted to keep in touch. Without skipping a beat, I informed them I wouldn’t be in Austin in a couple of days. My friend who has known me for years remarked how odd it was that I didn’t jump to make that connection – I think he was surprised at how okay I was at just letting it be. I’ve gotten good at this – at investing wholeheartedly wherever I am yet knowing I will soon be on to the next adventure. I now plant my feet somewhere new and can feel how temporary the sensation is. Something like your surroundings and where you live has gone from being consistent to being consistently unpredictable. It’s beautiful – the one off conversations and the wonderful rendezvous with loved ones. It’s disorienting – I wake up everyday unsure of what to expect and having to remind myself of where I am. Its changed my relationship drastically with my environment. At no point in time does anything around me feel like “mine”. I think this is a wonderful thing as nothing we own is ever really ours.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t know which adventure to choose. In the last week, I’ve talked about moving to Dublin, Vancouver, Austin, San Diego, Seattle, and Oakland. I read that list through and practically shrug my shoulders thinking about where I might end up. After having so many aspects of my life planned out, I’m letting go more and more of that desire to have that sense of control and consistency. I don’t have plans for the entire month of May – I don’t know where I’ll live, what I’ll be doing, who I’ll be with, etc. After July 4th, I have literally nowhere to live or be. That’s as far as my plans go. After spending too much time letting society dictate where to be (think college) or people in my life (parents or significant others), I’m having a very hard time figuring out where it is that I want to be.
I say this often but we have to live with the choices we make not others. We have to live with the life we create. I say this because it helps recenter me from making decisions for the wrong reasons and because it reminds me how much sway we can have with other’s decisions. I’ve never had to ask myself where I want to go or be without limitation. Even with college, I could at least narrow things down to where I got in and where I could afford to go. It’s this lack of direction that already has me clinging to where others might move to make my decision easier. I can’t tell if this is good or bad. For now though, I refuse to make a decision. There’s too much I’m learning about myself and others to take that opportunity away from myself. I’m seeing the value in not making a decision and in letting life play out in whatever way it will.