Do you live with the feeling that you are living your life with a purpose, an openness, that one day you might realize what it is all for? I’ve always lived my life this way. I’ve moved around a lot since 2003. In fact, here are the places I’ve lived if they were mapped out on a map -
Each place we live, job we take, move we make means something new. And every single one has its blessings and its challenges. For example, blessings might mean a better salary and pace of life while minuses are leaving friends and family in a different location, sometimes on a different continent. These are very real and challenging things to deal with, yet they are a part of life. Life changes; we move forward and honor the past while not living in nor being controlled by it.
Finally Feeling Settled
Those of us who are labeled “wanderers”, “wanderlusters”, or “travelers” are often seen with a certain stigma, that we’ll never settle down, never get tired of the race and the moving. That’s not true in my experience. We all desire to be known, to be trusted, to have familiarity. Some of us, more than others, crave constant change or new things, but that’s the exception not the rule, once again in my experience.
I’m in California right now. I’m moving here in a month from Brooklyn, NYC. I have called Brooklyn home since June 2011, so almost two and a half years. Before that, my longest stint in one place was Switzerland when I spent a full year there. However, I had 2-3 week periods where I would go to Spain or Italy. Traveling was still a way of life (and don’t get me wrong, I do plenty of that in the US these days). Just this year I have been and will be all of these places:
But 2014 will be the year of slowing down.
New York City is an amazing city. It has been the best two and a half uninterrupted years of my life. I got established in my industry (marketing), made some absolutely amazing and lifelong friends (Tom, Erin, Mike), and met my amazing girlfriend (who is moving to San Francisco with me). I’ve made incredible connections with people in the city, been fortunate to get connected with some awesome startups (Grovo and FaithStreet), and had many unbelievably fun experiences.
But the pace of life has gotten me down. New York City is so fast and busy. Every day we are crowded into subway cars and fly underneath the NYC streets together to get to work. People don’t stop for each other or give each other the time of day. Everyone is hurrying to the next place. Go here to eat, have this experience, see this museum, do this thing. There is always more to do. We love it, but it’s exhausting.
Here in California, life is slower. When I move fast, people look at me like I am crazy. Today I found myself getting impatient that the man ringing up the groceries of the people in front of me was being slow. “Doesn’t he know I have somewhere to be?” I thought.
In reality, I had nowhere to be. I wanted to get my food to get back to where I’m staying to write this, but it wasn’t life or death. I slowed down, I chatted with him too, I smiled, I said thanks to the girl bagging my groceries. Then I walked slowly back to my AirBNB and took some time to read and eat some food after putting away my groceries.
And guess what? It was nice. It was relaxed. It was slow.
So I’ve moved a ton. I’m tired of it. I’m excited to be here, to focus on quality in life, in relationships. I’ve had the quantity and it has been amazing. But now, it’s time to focus on the good life.
Viva California. I think I’m home.