Little preparations

Rather than take a big leap into full planning mode for a future business, an epic trip, an inevitable move, a redefining of a relationship, I do little tasks. I read a story about a successful young woman business owner and daydream that I’d be the feature of that kind of article someday. I research when it’s best to travel to Turkey or Thailand or Argentina. I search for apartments on Craigslist in my price range in cities like Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Portland, and imagine the questions I’d ask the landlords–Are these double-paned windows? What’s the average heating cost in the winter? What are the neighbors like? I browse ring and dress websites, mentally bookmarking the ones I like best, in case the need ever arose.

But when it comes to follow-through, I rarely get past these tiny steps, these insignificant blips that fill up a slow day, later to be forgotten or deleted or expired.

A friend wrote a blog post I read today that was defiant and decisive; she’d made up her mind about how she wanted to live her life to the best of her ability, and she didn’t care if anyone else cared. Following her gut, knowing that her decisions, good or bad to others, were only truly relevant to her. No one had the right to comment or judge her movements or thoughts. If they did, let them–she’d go on living her life without their personal observations. She’s not scared to do and say what she thinks because she’s afraid the world will tell her she’s going about it all wrong. (I am constantly reminded why I am proud to call her a friend.)

I wish I had this courage–to take the big steps, to make the big plans, to upend social expectations, to execute what I only sketch out in my dreams. Here’s hoping she’ll inspire me to broach the parts of life I’ve been tiptoeing around. After all, in the end, you’re the one who has to live with how much happiness you’ve allowed yourself.

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Picking a new city (again)

K (boyfriend) and I are planning on moving to a new city in a year and a half, after he’s done with five years of teaching at his school. He will have been in the city for five years, and I’ll have been here for two.

Neither of us is particularly enthralled with Baltimore. It’s a small city, and there are a few small neighborhoods that I like. But there are only a handful, and I feel like we’ve been to most of the restaurants that we’ve wanted to go to. As people who really measure a city by its quality of food and number of options, we’ve kind of worn out our choices in Baltimore. Sure, DC is close, but not close enough to make for a spontaneous trip.

I’ve also felt more unsafe here than I have in other cities I’ve lived in, like DC and Boston. It’s possible it’s because I live at the edge of a pretty safe neighborhood and a not great neighborhood, or that there were two separate shootings in a few days within two blocks of where I live. Also, muggings seem a lot more common here than they do where I’ve lived before. Maybe my concerns are irrational, but I don’t feel comfortable walking alone, or even in small groups, at night. This isn’t something I want to feel in a place I plan to be for a while.

Right now, I think we’re considering Chicago, Portland (OR), Philadelphia (though K isn’t too jazzed about living there), and maybe Denver or Austin or Seattle. I’m hesitant about the West Coast, as my family is here and I’d miss being within a reasonable distance, but really, once driving home in less than a few hours isn’t an option, it’s all the same.

The idea of moving yet again (I’ve moved to new apartments, sometimes to new cities, every year) is so daunting. Finding a new group of friends, new jobs, a new apartment, new routines doesn’t sound like fun to me right now. I’ve done it so many times, and with varying degrees of success. Still, I can’t imagine living here forever.

Anyone have positive experiences living in Chicago, Portland, Philly, Denver, Austin, or Seattle?