The freedom and newness and possibility that enveloped me upon my arrival has, over the past two years, given way to inconveniences, grind, and cramp.
It culminated a few months back, when I came down with the flu just as Henley picked up a bug from, one can only guess, the back alley. Days of diarrhea and vomiting on her part gave way to a very scary reality: It was Sunday, a day when all normal vets are closed, she was refusing food for the third day and couldn't keep water down, I had a fever and no car, and the nearest emergency vet--bound to cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars--was 2 miles away. And it was freezing and snowing, because of course.
As the saying goes, FML.
I spend a lot of time going back and forth between two camps:
- This city doesn't suit your ideal lifestyle and you need to take care of that ASAP
- You are really lucky and you need to recognize that and not take it for granted
"Why do I live here?" has become a pretty constant refrain, both in the "why the fuck do I live somewhere where it hurts my face to walk down the street??!!" kind of immediate way and also in the "but no really, why? What's keeping me here?" It gets existential pretty quickly.
Answers range from "because it's 6 hours from your family" and "because you have a great job and why would you risk leaving" and "because it would cost a couple grand to relocate" and "because I'm scared that I don't have it in me to start all over once again".
The other day on the bus home, I found myself silently asking that familiar question. I looked out at the lake, a daily commute ritual that calms me and reminds me of home, and a new answer appeared: You live here because this is where you are.
You are here because this is where you are.
It's as simple as that. This is where I am in life. It's not where I'll always be, and the mysteries behind that will unveil themselves in good time. But for right now I live here because this is where I am.
And that's...satisfactory. It doesn't feel like a question anymore. It hasn't crossed my mind since.
I live here because this is where I am.
You guys, I am nowhere close to being a Zen Buddhist Priest, but I am so much closer than I ever thought I'd be.