Just this week, someone chock in the throes of moving and who has been waiting weeks for his furniture to arrive cross-country asked ‘how can I stand moving so much’? I quipped that I organize for a living, so details and planning just come naturally to me. Which is true.
Having lived all over the Bay – South Bay, East Bay, Marin (North Bay but they don’t want to call it that), back to South, and over and up to East again in 25 plus years has meant 14 different rentals, averaging 1.8 years each, with the longest truly mind-numbing 6-year stint in Novato and, at the other end of the spectrum, a barely unpacked 3-month stay. A few years ago, I wrote a breakup blog to California, Bear With Me but we didn’t actually break up. I guess it was just a fight.
Yet it’s easier for me to think about leaving than it is for the native-born. I already have a ‘been there-done that’ about most of the Bay offerings. While I still surmise that there is no other place quite like this, I’m definitely ready for something slower, less competitive, and especially less expensive.
But where will I go? My next jump will be bigger, narrowed only that I want to be east of the Mississippi, a pretty wide swath which I’ve yet to nail down. But at the very least, we can safely deem it cross-country.
The problem is this: I am too Californian. I get acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments and regular massages. I do yoga and practice Feng Shui; I believe in ghosts and spirits; I’m non-religious and tout myself as a bad Buddhist; I am an LGBT ally who believes in same sex marriage, interracial marriage and open relationships. I burn sandlewood incense at the new moon, eat quinoa, tofu and gluten-free products while attempting to live by a Whole Foods-esque mantra for wholesome ingredients. I don’t agree with hunting or guns and I’ll support your right to abortion and the bathroom of your choice. I am crazy liberal.
Living in a state that welcomes and celebrates individuality is exactly the reason I came to California and stayed so long.
I am hopeful to find cities or towns where culture is celebrated, the food is as diverse as the people who make it, my neighbors are a mixed bag, the weather is mild(ish), theater is present, music makes me get off my seat, movies showcase a range of talent and different voices are heard, the books are aplenty, and the sun shines bright. The hunt to find a new location that can offer a microcosm of the bay area without the thousands dollar rent, the exasperating traffic, and the competitive self-serving attitude.
I know I’ve been living in a bubble. I’m afraid it’s about to pop.