March 1st marks the completion of 6 months here in Seattle, halfway through.
Like most people, I’m prone to imbuing these sorts of anniversaries with undue significance. 1 Month, 6 months, 1 year, 10 years. They offer satisfactory plateaus by which to look back on our progress.
A Normal Life
Even with a life such as mine, which is so rigidly defined by exact years, 6 months, while convenient, is a meaningless passage of time to reflect upon my experience of the city. Now that I’ve crossed 6 months, it’s likely that I’ll face numerous iterations of this question: “So, halfway done, what’s your impression of Seattle?”
I can answer with consideration of the people I’ve met, or the bars I’ve frequented, perhaps comment on the job market or the cost of living. Or I’ll just give a general summation of my time, touching on all of the above. I can answer the question, but I know it won’t be a satisfactory response. It’s not because such a question is impossible to answer. It’s because the answer will always be less revelatory than hoped. If the person asking is from Seattle, I’m not going to tell them anything they don’t already know, and if they’re a transplant to the city, their experience will likely have been so similar that mine will seem anticlimactic.
But that’s the point. I am attempting to experience each city like a resident, not like a passing gypsy. While I feel a kindred spirit with beatniks and vagabonds, I am for all intents and purposes just your average citizen, perpetually new to the city.
My life has its share of oddities and comes with a rather eclectic and demented cast of characters. But day to day, it’s really quite a normal life.
The Dark Matter of Life
In 3 more months, I will have been on the road for 7 years. I guess that’s what truly sets my life apart. It’s not the traveling or the odd jobs, it’s the constant starting over. My friends who graduated college with me 7 years ago have been building a life forward all these years, accumulating relationships, families, homes, cars and job promotions. Whereas everything I build up in a year is immediately reduced back to zero on September 1st.
What have I accumulated in these years? Experience. Experiences. Stories. Friends from all over the country. New perspectives.
Otherwise, I have less than I had when I started. Less books, less clothing, less money, less stuff. And less security. It’s like I’m living in reverse.
If our existences are finite containers in which to hold our possessions, mine has been systematically emptied of physical items to make room for an indefinable mass, the dark matter of life. Or maybe I’m full of shit.
Whatever it is, it’s all I have, so there’s nothing to be done but own it.
Six months in Seattle, and what do I have to show for it? I guess the same thing I have to show for six years in six other cities.