At the dawn of a new year, it seems that our natural tendency is to reflect. We think about what went wrong or right or good or bad over the last twelve months, sometimes celebrating a successful year, sometimes happy to close the book on a year we’d rather forget.
This year, I’ve spent my New Years Day considering not the past year, but the coming one, which starts off with a tremendous amount of change. I’ve spent the last three years in the same city, the same apartment, and the same job, but within the next two weeks, all three will be left behind and replaced with something new.
Since graduating college five years ago, this change marks my third city, my fourth move, and my fourth job hunt. Part of me finds this constant change exciting, and I wouldn’t trade it. I’ve gained a strange and wide variety of job experience, from door-to-door political canvassing, to opening a new performance venue at a major university. I’ve learned to eat locally in both the urban Mid-Atlantic and also in the prolific, fertile South. I’ve developed so many dear friends and met such interesting people, more than I ever could have hoped to meet had I stayed in one area.
Yet despite my drive for new experiences, new friends, and new places, I also ache for a sense of home and a connection to the community in which I live. I put down roots quickly and whole-heartedly as a desert ephemeral whose time to bloom is brief, immersing myself deeply in the experiences offered by each area in an effort to create home. The value I find in this is immeasurable, giving me a sense of stability despite my somewhat migrant behavior.
But it does make leaving harder. Just when I feel like I finally have close friends and enough knowledge to give someone directions by road number, it’s time to go. It’s hard to start a completely new job when you know your current one so well. It’s hard to make new friends, chatting over introductory small talk while your old friends start to move on. It’s hard to organize a new kitchen, damn it!
I find, however, that the struggle is worth it. Home is a powerful thing. It’s something I want in every place I live. I refuse to believe it would be easier if I simply never took the time to make connections, to exist in each new city without trying to know it, and to just keep my head down until the next inevitable move. Because you know what? Someday, one of these moves will be my last. One of these cities will be where I grow old. One of these jobs will become my life’s work. What benefit is there in not diving in right at the start?
I don’t know what 2014 brings for you, but for me, it’s almost entirely new beginnings. I am sad to be leaving Durham, the Duke Box Office, the friends I’ve made here, but I’m thrilled about what awaits in Columbus. We have a gorgeous apartment in a lovely neighborhood, walkable to many of the cities attractions. I have a new job in an entirely new venue, presenting new challenges to meet and new puzzles to solve. I’ll be re-learning to grow food and eat locally in a dramatically different hardiness zone. I’ll build some new friendships, but I’m incredibly lucky for the chance to rekindle some old ones. I’ll have a kitchen with windows. WINDOWS!
So bring it on, 2014! Here’s to something new!