On roots…

Ruminations ,Stories
August 21, 2011

I’ve sort of been procrastinating which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone frankly. Writing is hard, mkay?

Two years ago today I was on vacation in San Diego. At the precise hour of this writing in fact I was in my interview of a certain large Japanese gaming company; it had been bumped from 11am to 8:30am and I was definitely still feeling the effects of splitting a bottle of Jack with Dorian and Spaz the night before. I wasn’t hungover and I wasn’t drunk, I was just really REALLY thirsty. We’re talking Saraha during the dry season here. So what if I did fall back in bed the first time I tried to get up; don’t judge me. The point is tipsy me apparently knocked it out of the park (or I was cheapest) and I got an offer before I flew home on my birthday two days from now.

I first visited San Diego probably close to 4 years ago now. I don’t remember what I was thinking when I flew in, but I do remember what I thought when I flew out; I knew beyond any doubt that I WOULD live here. San Diego clicked with me in ways I couldn’t fathom or explain. Everything looked somehow familiar and yet was glisteningshinywetnew at the same time, and that feeling that hasn’t dimmed in the slightest over the past two years. I’m perfectly content to sit at home reading while ocean breezes waft through the apartment, driving to work along the 101 with surfers as my fellow commuters, or even walking around downtown looking at the unwashed masses of humanity. I’ve never encountered such a diversity of experience in such a concentrated area- seals and sea lions basking 3 feet away from you in La Jolla, sharks and dolphins nosing you while surfing in North County, coyotes skirting you with their sideways walk out in the desert, the list goes on and on. Even after all the time I’ve spent here I MIGHT have seen maybe 10% of what there is to see here. The idea of moving and leaving it all behind was pretty lackluster to say the least.

Frankly it went way beyond just not appealing to me; I outright dreaded it with the cold shivering certainty that I’d hate it. It was the cold and clammy lump of iron dread coupled with the blind unreasoning panic that prehistoric man felt in the dark. I was grumpy and I certainly wasn’t sleeping well. I kept trying to reassure myself that it would be fine, that I would come down to visit San Diego on the weekends like that would somehow make it OK. It didn’t work of course; it was a repetitive mantra that was overlaid with an overpowering stench of fear and a subtle touch of desperation. Why was I so determinedly unhappy with this? Was it because it San Diego first city that I ever felt like I fit in, somewhere I could call home? As it turns out, that was pretty close to the truth- I had put down roots in San Diego in 2 short years which was something I hadn’t ever managed in 30 odd years while living in Alabama. Perspective is a bitch; this must be what most people went through when leaving home for the first time. Once I realized that everything began to make sense. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to move up to the Bay Area, I felt safe and secure here and I didn’t want to give that up. I was more fighting mentally for that security and comfort than anything specific to San Diego. I was willfully locking myself in complacency, like the little kid with their eyes screwed up tight and fingers in their ears singing at the top of their lungs.

I like to think that’s not me. While I don’t espouse change for the sake of change, I don’t think we as human beings can grow without constant change and stimulation. We should fear stagnation in our lives; it’s an insidious rot that erodes you from the inside out and we’re generally incapable of seeing it in ourselves until it’s too late. I made the conscious decision to embrace this move as a chance for that and haven’t looked back. It might be a year, it might be for 10, but it’s a new experience and I want to learn from it and enjoy it to every extent I’m capable of. I’m trying to approach it with the same outlook and enthusiasm as I did moving here and it’s working. I’ve already got stuff lined up to do in September and October, including trips to Yosemite, Monterrey Bay, San Francisco, scuba diving, and going out to see the giant redwoods. I’m sure there’s a Napa trip going to be wedged in there somewheres. *ahem*

My friends here are still my friends, just like my friends back in Alabama. I can easily come down to visit just like I go back to the South now. The mistake that I almost made is in assuming that my old life would be somehow closed to me now, and I don’t think it has to be like that. There are people who will write you off for sure- I saw that firsthand when I moved to San Diego originally. Some folks just take you leaving personally, like they’re only in your social circle due to physical proximity. I expect it’s some a heady cocktail of subconscious envy and feelings akin to betrayal. They’ll either get over it or not; so far in my limited experience it’s been roughly a 50% turnover rate.

Funny how life comes full circle. Why does it seem I always move on Labor Day? In two days I’ll be camping out in my apartment in San Diego with most of my worldly goods making the trip to Sunnyvale. In one week I’ll be on a sightseeing tour bus in San Francisco. In two weeks I’ll (hopefully) have started unpacking. With all that living to do, I should probably get out of this freezing Starbucks and start getting ready for the packers and movers huh?