In a recent email exchange, I wrote
since college I've been working, discovering Philadelphia, traveling, putting down roots but being afraid to get too anchored, and getting addicted to coffee.
and naturally the person asked why I'm afraid to get anchored. I had originally written it somewhat flippantly (something I always say), but in responding I surprised myself with some, perhaps overdue, introspection:
I don't know why I'm afraid of an anchor, it's actually pretty contradictory. When I moved to Philly, I was looking for some stability, regularity, some sense of normalcy after what I felt like had been a chaotic whirlwind during college. But I never intended to stick around. Europe has its claws in me, as does the West Coast (I've always wanted to go back to Portland, or live in Seattle or Vancouver). Some subconscious or half-conscious part of me had imagined that I'd be transient in my 20s, hopping from city to city, living a cosmopolitan and unattached life.
But now looking at how the last few years have taken shape, it all has come to pass, in one way or another. I've found great people in Philadelphia, wrenched some semblance of balance into my life (though, like the entropic universe, I still tend towards chaos), but I've still managed to spend time in other places (if not those places I vaguely had in mind).
I am honest-to-goodness content about where I am. I want to do some more traveling, explore more cities, meet more friends in more places (oh Verizon). But until I fall in love with another place, I wouldn't just pick up and leave for the sake of doing so. I wouldn't trade it, for example, for New York. New York is a lot of things -- amazing, vibrant, multifaceted -- but I always breath a sigh of relief when I step off the bus, and I'm back in the city of brotherly love. Would I trade it for Seattle, Vancouver, or San Francisco? I don't know yet, but I look forward to finding out.
I don't imagine I'll be here for the rest of my life, but the sun isn't setting yet on Philadelphia and me.