After years of wishful thinking, after weeks of political maneuvering, after days of stress about moving, a dream of sorts came true when my wife and I temporarily relocated to a small city in Europe. It’s temporary because everything is temporary but more precisely because I had an opportunity through work. We are now living abroad, something that we’d hoped to do but which I secretly assumed would never happen.
It’s not an easy thing, to leave New York. We did it once before, leaving New York for Atlanta. Even though that turned out alright, better than alright, in the end, it was a difficult experiment. Among other things, it convinced us that New York was the place for us and that we would never leave again. And yet, here we are.
So what changed? For one, we are in Europe, on the Continent. None of our (now former) friends were jealous when we lit out for Atlanta. All of our friends are jealous of us now. (They will remain our friends if for no other reason than the joy that it will bring my wife and I to see their faces when we talk about our time in Europe.) Everyone, or at least those as pretentious as my wife and I, dreams of living abroad, of learning a new culture and a new language, of being the ones with the exotic accents. And, of course, we all dream of starting from scratch, if only for a little while. Here, no one really knows us and we can create whole new identities, cooler than the ones we leave behind in the states. We may even have the stamina to maintain our facades for the whole year that we’ll be here.
I keep saying we but I have no idea how much my wife feels that same as I do. Maybe she is not plagued by always thinking about her identity like I am about mine. Living here means something about me and I think its up to me to define what it is. If you don’t like who you are or who you’ve become or who other people think you are then it’s always nice to leave and try again somewhere else. Does it matter that I tried this when I went to college and again when I moved to New York and again when I moved to Atlanta and probably numerous times in between and since? I just assume this is what everyone does.
So here I am and I’m so sure that I’m going to leave all my problems behind, that this change of scenery is just what I need in order to become the person I’ve always wanted to be; to finish my novel(s), to update my blog more regularly, to be more thoughtful with regards to my wife.
The truth is that I will either do or not do those things and it won’t have anything to do with my location. I carry all this shit with me when I go somewhere, even though I don’t remember packing it and all I really wanted was to leave it in our apartment in New York. It’s here and I’ll just have to deal with it.
At least I can expect some visible envy in the future.