This is hard for me to say. But January is my last month in my wonderful community.
It’s sad for me to say. Especially after I wrote that post on living in such a great place.
There’s a few things that led me to my decision. The first (and most boring) is money. I’ve been in SF for a year now, and I haven’t found steady dev work. This city is expensive, and I’ve been having difficulty getting a job. It’s a competitive market and while I love this city, it’s not where I seem to be able to grow. If I find something before I pack up and leave, then I’ll stay, but otherwise, it’s time to go.
Second is more exciting. I want to marry my girlfriend. Haven’t proposed yet, but we both have wanted it for a while. We’ve been thinking about it for a while now, as as we enter our fifth year of our relationship, I have to think seriously about finances and how to build a life for us together. Ideally, that life would include her living here in community with me. She loves it here, and says that it feels like home. That’s a big deal for her. But money is important when you want to build a life together. I’m going to have to make tough choices. I’ll be closer to her though (a 2 hour drive as opposed to a 7 hour train ride). Silver linings and all that.
None of this is easy. But I think it’s a good choice.
I’m happy to say that this doesn’t seem like a step backwards. It’s not a failure to need to move away, to run into challenges.
Just because I’m leaving and heading home doesn’t mean the places I’ve been haven’t changed me. Made me better.
If you haven’t read Terry Pratchett’s A Hat Full of Sky, I recommend it. It’s fair to say it’s my favorite book. I think on it often when I have to move or there’s a big change in my life. So in no particular order, here’s words that put my thoughts about leaving well.
“Once we were blobs in the sea, and then fishes, and then lizards and rats and then monkeys, and hundreds of things in between. This hand was once a fin, this hand once had claws! In my human mouth I have the pointy teeth of a wolf and the chisel teeth of a rabbit and the grinding teeth of a cow! Our blood is as salty as the sea we used to live in! When we’re frightened, the hair on our skin stands up, just like it did when we had fur. We are history! Everything we’ve ever been on the way to becoming us, we still are. […]
I’m made up of the memories of my parents and my grandparents, all my ancestors. They’re in the way I look, in the color of my hair. And I’m made up of everyone I’ve ever met who’s changed the way I think.”
I’ve never felt more at home with so many people in my life. I love more freely now. I’m less afraid to care for others when it’s scary. After all, in a safe space where others are kind, it’s easier to be kind. There is no way I leave this place unchanged.
Will I have regrets? Certainly. Will I miss all these people? Most definitely. In ways I have yet to figure out. I’m sure I’ll grieve. It’s only fair. But this I choose to do.
“There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do.”
This I choose to do. There are things I don’t have control over, but I can still step up to the challenges ahead. I wish I could stay longer. I wish for so many things.
However, I know that I always have a home. Even if I don’t live there in the future. People leave our home often, which just means there are plenty of people all over the world that I know and love. More silver.
I’ve learned to love and live and laugh far more than I thought possible. I’ve been challenged and grown. I’ve learned to dance after a long time sticking to the wall. After all:
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
With that, I leave you this gift.