21 July 2020
A pandemic’s a good a time as any to pick up your whole life and move to a new city, right?
I’ve lived in the Bay Area since I was five. I’ve tried a few times to write about what this place means to me and how much I love it, but it all sounds a little goofy, because that’s what love is sometimes: an awkward, insufficient bumbling of words. Ultimately all I can say is that the Bay Area has been a loyal companion. It’s easy to love its grandeur (the Golden Gate Bridge, the redwood forests) but my love has bloomed in all the quiet, liminal spaces. Waiting for the N-Judah in the fog; walking around the suburbs of the South Bay, equally bored and enchanted; driving over the Bay Bridge over and over and over again. I never feel alone here, because I am home.
So, why leave? A lot of people assumed I was tired of it, because people loooOoOoOve being tired of the Bay, but no I’m sorry to say I have a smooth little brain and I still think this place is magical. I could stay here forever.
Which is, in a bizarre way, why I should probably leave. I had actually planned to leave two years after graduating college, but I started dating someone from New York, and he liked it here, so I stayed. Eventually we started talking about moving to Switzerland and god help me but I even started learning German in preparation. But these dreams kept getting delayed, never for any particularly good reason, and then we broke up and I finally freed myself from him and more importantly from the horrors of the German language. I quickly found a new apartment and even as I signed the lease, I thought, “when this lease is up, it’s time to go. for real this time bitch!!”
I spent most of the year thinking really really hard about where I’d want to move to, settling on Los Angeles because that’s where the hot people are, and I figured there would simply be absolutely nothing that could possibly get in the way of this plan :)
It goes without saying that the pandemic completely erased any dreams we had for this year. Travel? Weddings? Tattoos? Finally managing your anxiety? Sike!! Even though these abandoned dreams are far from the worst casualties of covid, it’s still reasonable to mourn them. We all wanted a lot more from this year and I don’t think anyone should feel bad about feeling bad. It sucks.
The idea of potentially not being able to move really wrecked me for a bit. I had wanted this for so long, and for years it didn’t happen because of my ex and me bending over backwards to accommodate his career. And now that I was free to finally do what I wanted in life, we had to end up with a devastating global pandemic? Literally what the hell, god.
I was willing to let all my other 2020 goals float away like petals in the wind, but I couldn’t let go of this one. It just meant too much to me. Even though I love the Bay Area a fanatical amount, I also didn’t want to feel stuck here anymore. I was tired of dreaming. I was ready to do the damn thing.
This would have felt monumental no matter what, but it’s all the more so during a global pandemic. It feels a little irresponsible and illogical, because it is both of those things, but it also feels really good to still try to do what will make me happy even when it could not possibly be at a worse time. Which isn’t to say we should go do everything we want to right now, because we most certainly should not, but there are still ways to safely reach out towards happiness, bemasked and begloved.
So I guess, yeah, it feels dumb to do this right now. But is it as dumb as putting my life on hold for years because of a guy who wouldn’t be worth it in the end? Probably yes because worst case scenario with this move I get horribly sick and end up with permanent lung damage, but you know it really does beg the question.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this. Life, for better or worse, is not over. Time didn’t stop in March. Nothing about this year is ideal. But when has life ever been ideal?
P.S. While I didn’t manage to write much about why I love the Bay, my friend Stephanie did. Read her newsletter. It resonated a lot with me.