The End (of my year in Seattle) Is Nigh
365 days can sure fly. I have less than two weeks until I move from Seattle to New Orleans, exactly a week until my last day of work and not enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted to do before I left this city.
I’m resigned to the fact that there are countless things I never got around to doing while I lived here, and frankly none of them bother me much. I’d rather leave a city thinking about how much more there was to do than leave thinking, “Well, that city’s got nothing more to offer.” Someday I’ll return to the Emerald City, I can do some of it then.
What I’m most concerned about is making time for friends before I leave. A lunch here, a drink there, a conversation to bring the story full circle. Some friends I met when I first arrived, or soon after at my first job. Others I met only recently, in the last few months at my current job. These people, the friends, the acquaintances, they define 10 Cities/10 Years more than any city landmark or tourist attraction.
And some of them I will never see again. On a day-to-day basis, there are so many people that play an important role in your experiences, but someday they’ll stop being there and you won’t notice an appreciable difference in your life. This is probably more common for those of us who regularly travel and move, but I imagine it’s pretty much a universal truth. How many times have you been in a conversation with a friend and suddenly a name is mentioned and you realize you haven’t heard from or even thought of that person in years, and you didn’t even notice?
How many times have you been that name?
And then there are the friends…
This previous weekend, I was blessed with a visit from two of my closest friends from my year in Chicago. The three of us worked together while I was there and it was with the two of them (and a few other close friends) that I experienced a great deal of the city. Due to the dramatic upheaval taking place in my personal life that year, I consider my relationship with these two friends to have been paramount to my (barely) maintained sanity.
I have a mere handful of friends on this level, which may be more or less than your average person. But I count myself lucky because these friends are spread throughout the country. What an asset to have such support in the varied corners of the country. It counts for so much.
I mentioned this to a friend the other day, but I’ve come to a place where I’m seeing a real balance in the good and bad of the way I’ve lived my life. On the one hand, it can be exhausting moving every year, both a physical and mental toll (not to mention a financial poison), and each passing year makes me wonder if I’m drifting irretrievably out of reach of a ‘normal’ life with a career, a wife and a kid. It’s a lot of potential loss.
And then, I have a weekend with friends like this past one I realize how much I’m also gaining. I don’t know what awaits at the end of the 10 Cities Rainbow (though, I’m pretty certain it’s not a pot o’ gold), but if I can settle my feet and gaze about me to see the faces of my friends spread throughout the nation, then I think I’ll be pretty well off.
I live a strange life. I live a hard life. I live a life, at times, quite lonely.
I live a good life.