it’s that time again. for whatever reason, springtime usually brings a period of gearing up. of gathering inertia. and i’m here on the tarmac again, getting ready to launch.
i suppose spring is, at its core, the basis of newness, new life, change, metamorphosis, movement. it’s when we shake off the vestiges of winter hibernation and wipe the dull sluggishness of the cold away, preparing for sunshine and activity. when i take all that into account, i guess it makes sense.
this time last year was a different world. it boggles my mind when i think how spectacularly different it really was. i was a thousand miles away in every sense. i was supremely unhappy. a lot of that drove me to embark on the path i’m on now.
i made a big decision in the last couple weeks. and it will put my life into a different world yet again. next year at this time, i’ll be in a different place again. everything has changed, and changed for the better.
i’ve been thinking a lot about the last year of my life. a year ago, i had to leave a job i liked because they failed to communicate and plan well for their employees. nutshell version is that i was brought into the workplace with certain promises that they were unable to keep, and i couldn’t support myself after the changes were made. i was completely unsure of what i wanted to do in denver, so i found another job. it paid more, offered some overtime, and it worked out well for the time being.
then my life imploded.
it’s a much longer story than i care to go into here, but suffice it to say that enough very bad things happened in a very small amount of time that i decided i needed to just go. i chose nashville because it was central to my extended family, which is scattered across the eastern half of the country. and i fled denver.
when i arrived in nashville, i was running away from a lot of things. denver for me was my azkaban. living there felt like i was surrounded by specters that sucked my soul out through my mouth. leaving was the best first step i could have taken.
when i arrived in nashville, i never intended to make it my permanent home. i figured i would stay for a year or so, see what happened.
when i arrived in nashville, i had nothing. almost no money, no job, no friends. it was quite possibly one of the ballsiest moves i’ve ever made. poland in august of 2006 wins the top spot, but that’s another story. also, “ballsy” is another possible word for “insane.” or “stupid.” take your pick.
i threw myself out onto a limb. i was voraciously determined to be nothing but myself. i was coming from a place where that just wasn’t possible. and when i arrived in nashville, i was me, and that was going to be enough.
i got off to a good start. off the bat, some good things happened.
by day seven, i had been offered a job. a couple months later, i got a second job. i joined a writing group. i met someone there who has become a close friend of mine now. she’s a kindred spirit.
it’s been nine months since i arrived in nashville. in that time, i’ve gone from absolute nothing to having two steady jobs, almost $1000 in savings, a couple great friends, a writing group that i started within the main group and grew to ten regular members, and i’ve seen family i hadn’t been able to see for years–a decade, in some cases. it’s been a good year for me here. but nashville’s not the place for me.
i knew that when i came here. and now it’s time to move on. and so that’s the decision i made: to move on. several months ago, back in about september, i met several people who were working on obama’s campaign all over the country. a few of us became good friends in the lead up to the election, connected by a burning desire to see our candidate become our president. and we did. it was a glorious moment.
i got close to one young woman in particular. we became fast friends, and began to talk about what we were doing with our lives. by november, i was applying to teach for america, and she was applying to grad schools. even then, i was trying to decide where i wanted to go next, and as i researched different east coast cities (i’d already narrowed it down that far), more and more i kept coming back to one in particular. new york was out because manhattan makes me claustrophobic. i thought about boston, where i’d been planning to move a few years ago. i thought about philly, and baltimore, and dc, stamford, annapolis. i came around after a lot of thought to two cities i wanted to aim for. and the strange coincidence–my new friend wanted to move to the same city.
four and a half months ago, i wrote the following:
Things I like: liberalism, openmindedness, writing, writers, good music, indie bands, electronica, diversity, secularism, foreigners, foreign food, foreign languages, history, the ocean, museums, walking places, good concerts, progressives, politics, cold winters, pretty fall leaves, intellectualism, etc.
Things I don’t like: hardcore right-wingers (gross generality, but still), living in a red state, 80-degree weather in November, driving in cities, southern accents (sorry!), racism, 80-degree weather in November (I really hate being hot)…and some others.
you can see the original post in its natural habitat here.
so ana and i got to talking. she was planning on grad school; i was planning on tfa. as the weeks went by, our lives kept moving forward, but kept coming back to the same conclusion. we both wanted the same thing. then a couple other friends entered the picture–they were headed the same direction from all over the country and all over the globe.
i spent several months stressing over tfa. what if they didn’t send me where i wanted to go? what would i do? i forcibly reconciled myself to staying in nashville if they placed me here. i worked myself up about it and did everything in my power to resign myself to whatever they chose for me. the choice felt entirely out of my hands, and it wore on me.
when the final decision day arrived at length, i thought i was ready for anything. i was more nervous about telling people the news than i really was about the news itself. and when it came, it broadsided me. due to a long list of reasons–mostly the economy and a massive, unprecedented influx of applicants–they had put me on a waitlist, pending the stimulus package. i got accepted, but they had nowhere to put me.
i was floored. it was an implausible improbability, nearly in the realm of impossible for such a thing to happen. i never expected it, and my tfa contacts were just as shocked as i was–maybe even more.
when the numbness of shock wore off, though, i was surprised to find something else. relief.
why on earth would i feel that? why would i feel relief at not getting something i wanted? i thought about that for hours that night. and the night after. and the night after. and i realized something. i had so resigned myself to having my life decided for me, that i had essentially let myself lose track of what i really wanted. i sat down to figure it out. what did i want?
first of all, i want to be in a place where i feel i can settle down for more than a year or two. maybe semi-permanently. maybe longer. that place is not here, and if i’d been assigned to nashville, it would only be delaying the inevitable. secondly, i want to write. i finished my first novel six months ago, and i’ve barely been able to write a word of fiction since. i’m starting to get the drive back, and i want to be able to let it go when it comes crashing down on me again, to pour out the stories in my mind and let my worlds take shape. as much as i’d like to kid myself that i could do that whilst teaching with tfa, i think that’s pretty delusional of me. tfa would mean 14 hour days. i might be getting a lot of inspiration, but i would be drained at the end of the day, and i don’t think i would be able to spend much time writing.
third, i want to be in a place where i feel connected. i moved here knowing virtually no one, and the one person i connected with immediately left. while i have made a couple good friends in the past nine months, what i’m missing is being a part of a group and living near or with someone who really knows me and cares. part of this is that i want to be closer to my best friend. i’ve never lived within driving distance of julia, and to be able to get to her relatively quickly if she needed me would be priceless.
as the time passed from last fall till now, i began to realize that there was a life coalescing around me somewhere else. it’s just beginning to form, but it’s there. like-minded people in a like-minded city. close to the ocean and still close to family. closer to my loved ones in europe.
in the last nine months, my life has come full circle. once again i’m planning a big move. for a year after i returned to poland, i felt entirely lost. leaving denver and getting myself out of there was the first big step in the right direction. i’m moving now from the wishing, wondering, hoping stage into the actively planning, the pro-actively gathering momentum stage. and this time, i’m running away from nothing. everything i’ve built for myself in this last nine months in nashville is something i can create in dc. i am resilient; i adapt. this time around, i will search until i find a job where i can be happy and work for something bigger than myself. i will pull my friends close and build a warm circle of faces around me. i haven’t been unhappy here, but i certainly haven’t been happy, either. i’ve existed, and now it’s time to go somewhere i can thrive. moving on. moving forward. always moving. going toward something, not away from it.
and so i’ve decided. two months from now, i will pack up my car, take a deep breath, and drive to washington dc.
Posted on 24 March, 2009, in meanderings, snapshots life, thoughts and tagged azkaban, barack obama, beacon, change, dementor, excitement, hope, life, moving, new, people, relationships, spring, thoughts, trust, work, yes we can. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.