Not wanting to leave somewhere you don’t really want to be

Despite the fact that I’m really looking forward to going on the cycling trip, I can’t say I’m unconflicted. Now is not the first time I’ve felt this way. It happens every time I move.

I’ve always moved for good reasons: I’ve outgrown a place and am not happy. Or I’ve picked a place with a new opportunity, and I have things to accomplish there instead.

I don’t think there’s a perfect place in the world for me, and I deeply believe that wherever you are, it matters most what you build there.

Despite the fact that our time here always already had an expiration date, I made an honest go of it. I built.

So while I look ahead, I’m also mourning:

Mourning the friendships I’ve made that I just won’t be able to maintain without regular in-person time together. Mourning the projects I could have started here, or the goals I could have tackled with others. Mourning leaving my team. Mourning the life that I started to build that I could very well continue, if I wanted, if I could.

I am not done here. I am not done with this. I still have things to accomplish.

Maybe it comes down to this: even though I don’t love Lancaster, I am not unhappy here.

But I am also not fully happy here.

I am. I am not. More than I want to stay, I need to go.

I am not fully happy here, for reasons as obvious as my work life, as trivial as a waitress who asks “would you like a drink awhile?”, as subtle as feeling like brushing against the fences of friendly but closed communities, as concrete as the lack of cycling infrastructure, as cumulative as the number of rainy days. It was always going to be a stone to rest my feet on before the next hop forward. I still am not done here. I still am not ready to hop.

And yet, I am so ready to go.

If I could split myself and lead many lives on many paths, I would, oh, I would. In part, we’re talking about a bright new future, but with the loss of another potential future, also bright.

They are both real and true. The need to stay. The need to go.

Planning for this trip isn’t just sorting through things to put in my panniers. For me, it’s also an emotional sorting.

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