I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks.
As you might imagine, making these moves once a year can be a wearying ordeal. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve doubted the project, wanted to quit, wanted to stay put, considered moving to Austin instead of Nashville, and generally felt overwhelmed by the daunting task of relocating, yet again.
Moving is an exhausting activity. Even if it’s just from one apartment to another in the same city (and I’ve done that plenty), it is inevitably hard. Moving from city to city multiples that exhaustion tenfold, physically, mentally, financially and, perhaps most of all, emotionally.
I haven’t felt like writing, or taking pictures, or even reading. I find myself zoning out while listening to music, not really appreciating the songs that, at my worst, normally keep me sane.
So why do it? Why 10 Cities in 10 Years?
It’s the most common question I’m asked, followed by, “How do you pick your cities?” The how is random. The why…
There isn’t, really, just one reason, though I think they all tie together. Something pulls me, something pushes me. It’s not spiritual. It’s personal. I need the challenge in my life or I fear I might just fade away.
School was fairly easy for me. Even once in college, I found I could not pay attention at all and still ease through with mostly A’s. I hit a few speedbumps (*cough* Chemistry *couch*), but even those were mostly the product of my complete disinterest. Hell, I spent my final semester writing a novel throughout all of my classes (never taking notes) and I still went out with a 4.0 for that semester.
I enjoy intellectual games and problems, and I certainly don’t claim to be any great intellect (I have known far smarter people than myself), but the greatest challenges in my life have always been social.
Taking a shy, introverted misanthrope and turning him into a well-rounded, personable life-of-the-party sounds like the ultimate challenge.
(It also sounds like a Reality TV show: “The Social Butterfly, coming this fall from Fox!”)
Has that transformation happened? Well, let’s call it a process. I’m certainly more approachable than I was in high school, but I can still walk through a crowded room and go unnoticed when I’m not feeling particularly social. Someone who met me now would likely describe me as quiet, withdrawn, a bit of a loner (that is, until we had drinks). But someone who knew me when I was 15 would almost certainly recognize a huge evolution. It’s all about perspective.
Forcing myself out into the world, out among strangers and into public situations where I have to assert myself or be lost is the great challenge of my life. Spending 10 years on the road seems like sufficient testing grounds.
So, is that my why? Not exactly. It’s part of the whole, but I didn’t dream up this idea just to turn myself into a Big Man on Campus. I have loftier goals, you might say, all of them tied into my writing and the larger audience I hope to one day find. But as much as I want to have an influence on my world, I want the world to have its influence on me (Be in the world and of it).
I almost gave up. 5 years into this project, and for the first time since I started it, I seriously considered throwing in the towel. I know a few people in my life who might like that idea, but I think even they would understand how much of a failure that would have been in my own mind. I’ve come this far, I’m not stopping now.
I pretty well have an apartment locked up in Nashville, and based on the price and location, it’s probably a shithole. Back to living like I did in Philly.
This move is proving to be one of the hardest in all 4 ways: Physical, Mental, Financial and Emotional.
Simply put, it’s a challenge. And that’s the point.