The process can be a difficult one.
Here I am, just over two months out from my next move, and I am floating in that nebulous place yet again.
I need to find an apartment in Nashville, without actually being able to see any apartments ahead of time (outside of what photos the landlords might provide). The last three years of moves have landed me in four fairly nice, spacious apartments (with varying degrees of success in the roommate department), but this will be my first completely solitary, completely blind move since I moved to Philadelphia.
Here is an idea of how that apartment search turned out:
For a point of reference, see that box with the flap up in both pictures? That’s the same box. We’re talking a maybe 200 sq. ft apartment in West Philadelphia. If you see the windows with the blinds on them, you’ll see where I was able to witness a man lying on the ground after a shooting. If I’m being too subtle, my Philly living situation was not ideal.
Still had one hell of a memorable year there, though.
One major factor in finding an apartment is proximity to public transportation and to areas that can offer ample opportunities for employment. Normally, this is when I’d turn to my handy dandy NFT guide for neighborhood by neighborhood info to help me narrow down my apartment search. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in a previous post, there is no NFT for Nashville, and most other travel guides are pure touristy drivel. Maybe someone out there in cyberspace has a suggestion for a good series of guidebooks (or websites) that offer thorough neighborhood descriptions, something akin to the awesome that is the NFT.
I’ve done some research online and found a few areas of interest. Originally, I intended to live on the east end of the city in order to be near the Opry Mills Mall, where I thought I could transfer to from my current job. Alas, the flood earlier this Spring shut down the mall and that option. That is, of course, a bit of a disappointment, as having a job lined up before I got there would have been a real relief. On the other hand, it also means I can open up my apartment search parameters to include more of the city, including the apparently very cool (though perhaps too pricey) Hillsboro area.
Plus, I don’t really want to continue working in clothing retail. I’ve enjoyed my coworkers and the new experience, but I’m a book/music/movie guy all the way, and I’d love to get back into that area (if I’m forced to remain in retail; and let’s face it, I kind of am).
So I search. For dwelling space, for a job, for a place.
Where I live will affect where I work which will determine who I meet which will influence what kind of fun (and trouble) I find. The entire narrative of my year in Nashville begins with a decision I make a month or so before I even arrive there.
It’s not about regrets. It’s not about thinking, “Oh, if I’d only lived on the North side of Philly or the South side of Chicago, how would my year have been different/better?” That assumes that one sort of experience can be superior to another, but ultimately our life experiences are a reflection of us, not the other way around. I regret nothing.
What it comes down to, really, at this point, two months out and feeling like I’m not in control, is the haunting concern that I’ve lived with since the beginning of the 10 Cities project: Will this be the city where I finally fall on my face?
What if I can’t find work? What if I can’t pay my rent? Perhaps more maddening, what if I do find work, do pay my rent, but am unable to scrounge up enough cash to make my next move?
Will Nashville be my Waterloo?
These are my fears.
And of course, that’s the point. I should be scared. I should live my life with the fear of failure. Because after breezing through primary schooling and (mostly) sailing through college, I had a few easy options ahead of me (get a local job, marry a local girl, live a local life) and one extremely difficult option: Live a dream.
I’ve said it from the beginning, and I’ll say it until the day I come to the end, however that may turn out: If I’m going to fall on my face, I want it to be on my own terms.
I don’t know what comes next.
You shouldn’t either.
And if you do, well… how sad is that?