I’m not unaccustomed to moving—I’ve done Pittsburgh, PA to Greencastle, IN for college, to St. Louis, MO for AmeriCorps where I continued to move around on a regular basis, and now to Columbia, MO for grad school.
Each move has had its challenges, learning how to do laundry in college, figuring out how to do it at a laundromat in the real world, and discovering that there was no laundry in AmeriCorps. There was only that which was Febreezed and that which could do without. Easy stuff. The hard part came with acclimating to the new location, but more than that, accepting and embracing a place until it somehow became home. It’s the difference between visiting somewhere and living somewhere, between being content and being happy.
|It's just like a washer, minus the water!|
If the saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans” when visiting somewhere, in terms of moving there I’d say, “when in Rome, fucking love being Roman”. If everyone else is drinking the Kool-Aid, you’re draining the punch bowl.
This past Labor Day weekend I drove back to St. Louis where I seamlessly melted back into my old life. I stayed at my old house, ate at my old haunts, hung out with my friends; I felt like I had returned home after visiting grad school for a few weeks. Dangerous stuff. Mixing up realities is a high price to pay for even a great weekend like this one. But not everything was exactly the same.
I celebrated a good friend’s birthday out at the bars where I realized that while everyone else was buying drinks, my tuition waiver didn’t even cover rail whiskey. I helped some friends move into a great new apartment where they will begin their married, career-driven lives together and while people were going out for lunch, I stayed back to read and eat a Hot Pocket—just one, the other one was eaten for dinner.
It’s really an inconvenient time to begin pining for the Real World, because baby, I’m far from it.
|I'm a winner!|
I’m back in the bubble-wrapped cocoon of a college town where nothing gets in or out, where I reveled as an undergrad and loved it and never wanted to leave it. But I did leave it and I’ve since drunk the Real World Kool-Aid and have become addicted to a whole new brand of drug. Oh, the irony. Now, I have to find a way to kick it and adopt Columbia and grad school as my new home.
As the great poet laureate of our generation, Robert Thomas so elegantly mused, “I wish the real world would just keep hassling me.”