The Art in Settling


The year has started to settle.

I don’t mean 2014 (though, that, too). Rather, I’m referring to my year in Boston. I’m almost 5 months into it, just over 7 months until I make that auspicious final move to New York City, and the freshness of the new city has been supplanted by my familiarity with this temporary home. I know the landscape, I know the people, I have patterns and regular spots and memories of New Orleans are already fermenting into nostalgia.

There’s still so much that I haven’t done or seen in this city, so much that I’ll never get around to doing or seeing. There are the museums that I haven’t visited, and the bars in Southie that I’ve yet to venture into. I still want to go to a Celtics game, and a Red Sox game for that matter. I hope to take a day trip up to Maine and finally touch the one corner of the country I haven’t reached (not counting Alaska and Hawaii, which I’ll get to. Eventually). But I’d like to think I’ve made a pretty good go of it so far.

The 5 month mark in each year isn’t necessarily notable, though it was around this time in my year in San Francisco that I finally found a job after desperate, fruitless months of searching. It was also this time last year when I moved out of my first place in the St. Roch neighborhood of NOLA to a better apartment (and living situation) in Mid-City. Other than that, though, 5 months is just another arbitrary division of time, not quite halfway through, not even a clean divisor of a year.

And yet, 5 months does feel like an important junction in the year. The first couple months are full of exploration, which is then replaced by those frenzied, interminable weeks collective given the doublespeak designation, ‘The Holidays’. It’s only at the end of January that life begins to feel “normal.” It’s too early to start planning my move, but I’ve got enough time behind me that Boston doesn’t feel like a ‘new’ city, just my city. Generally, January and February are my least favorite months of the year, what with their bleak, gray weather and monotonous run of weeks with nothing to differentiate one day from another (Valentine’s Day doesn’t count; period). I wonder, though, if this settled feeling isn’t also a factor.

My entire life revolves around change, but right smack in the middle of my year is this period of stasis.

Of course, I could take a trip somewhere (well, another trip), but that would undermine the heart of this project. If I left my current city every time I got bored, I’d be missing out on real city habitation, the day-to-day that defines the way people actually live. If 10 Cities / 10 Years is a story about how people live in their cities (specifically, how they navigate their 20s in the city), I can’t very well hang around for the peaks and dip out during the troughs. Life can be spectacularly fun, but it also can be relentlessly dull, and while that might not sound like great fodder for art, the contrast provides depth to the story. All of our stories.

So, I’m settling in for the time being. February will feel like a slog, but then suddenly it’ll be springtime and NYC will be visible on the horizon (along with the existential crisis that will mark the end of this project). I’m here now, though, and on occasion it’s good to slow down. Idiot.