Of anchors, balance, and sunsets (re-examining my attachment to Philadelphia)

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.

 

Photos from an Unusual Weather Day in Hamburg - Flash Blizzard & Fiery Sunset

When I first woke up today, the sun was out, people on twitter were all a-flutter about how bright it was outside. Yes, I check my email and twitterstream on my iPod Touch before I get out of bed.

By the time I got out of bed, got ready for work, and made it out the door, it had started snowing. This was NOT expected. The snow kept getting heavier, the flakes larger, the wind stronger. As I walked down the alley to work, I was holding up one of those large blue Ikea bags to shield me from being pummeled by the force of the wind throwing these huge clumps of snow at me.

This evening, my coworker Svenja pointed out the unusual sunset. We've got a great view from the 6th floor (5th floor as Germans count it) and every once in a while the sky cooperates.