I have a loyalty problem.
To say that I rarely move on from things is an understatement. Perhaps it’s my OCD, which makes it near impossible for me to change my routine in the slightest without spending weeks weighing the consequences. But, whatever the cause, staying the course is my preferred method of travel. (And given how the baristas at my regular Starbucks had a crisis of faith when I switched from coconut milk to almond, it would seem like that’s how the world likes it too.)
But, there’s one area in my life where I have no problem moving on: when I’m ready to get far, far away from where I live.
I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m from Texas, and that 1) moving back there as a kid was awful and 2) moving away from there was a fantastic decision. The heat was oppressive, the politics were too conservative leaning, and did I mention the heat? When my husband Lawrence and I started dating, it didn’t take long before we began entertaining the idea of leaving for good.
For starters, Lawrence and I met in college and kind of had to see that through. Another issue was not knowing where we wanted to go. We went to Portland, Maine, for our honeymoon and fell in love with it. But, with a job market that had little to no opportunity for me, we couldn’t justify that move just yet.
Then, we reached a point in our lives where our combined salaries made it easy to drop over $100 on Adventure Time mystery boxes in a single day and not be that worried about our finances. (Yes, that is the kind of extravagant expenditure we make.) It was really hard to leave that kind of comfort, especially when we’d struggled for quite a while to reach it.
I hated my job, his wasn’t ideal, and we refused to spend one more goddamn summer peeling our melted bodies off the asphalt. So, we gave ourselves a six-month timeline, hoarded money into our savings, and set our sights on Boston, Massachusetts.
(It felt like a good compromise of moving to the East Coast, as we wanted, but not moving to New York, which we really, really didn’t want. And we still don’t.)
When we got here, after a three-day road trip across the country, it seemed like we’d made the best decision of our lives—after marrying each other, of course. We loved the city, and we liked the small town we lived in. One gigantic bonus, of course, was our close proximity to Portland, Maine! Also, no one seemed to give it a second thought that we’re a mixed couple, and it was nice not getting stared at by old white women.
With two unpleasant work environments under my belt and yet another struggle to find our footing financially, there’s little motivating us to stay. I mean, we’re making much more than we did in Texas, and we’re still basically flying by the skin of our teeth. Considering we want a house with a backyard to raise our future kids (and current puppy), it no longer makes sense to stay. But again, we had no idea where we’d go.
In early September, we took my dad and his wife to Portland. As I stood on top of a cliff at Fort Williams Park—somewhere we hadn’t been before in our trips to Maine—I felt a calm that I haven’t felt in years. As fate would have it, just earlier that week I’d been toying with the idea that maybe Lawrence and I should move to Providence, Rhode Island. But, given my long-sought moment of tranquility, I wondered if this was a better idea.
Sealing the deal, my dad wondered offhandedly how expensive some apartments overlooking the wharfs. Lawrence took to the internet to find out so we could all balk at the price, but we discovered that some of the spaces were cheaper than where we live now! (Like . . . a lot cheaper. Boston is insane.) We looked at each other in disbelief, and Lawrence said that I was thinking: “Should we move here?”
The answer is a resounding yes.
When we moved to Massachusetts, I’d had this lofty idea that we’d stay here forever. As things started to sour, I convinced myself that if only x, y, or z happened, we’d be fine and we’d love it again. But, now I know: There’s no point staying somewhere we kind of hate when we’re so close to our dream location.
So, we’re back where we started in 2014: making a six-month timeline and figuring out how to see it through. For the second time in my life, I can say with absolute certainty: it’s time to move on.