So Go

When is it time to pick up and leave?

For the first 18 years of life, give or take, I didn’t have to think too much. I always knew I’d stick with public schools, and so the path before me was clear. My educational choices were preordained, so I was free to be myself, to really dig in. I never thought about making a change to another school, and while high school wasn’t the best four years of my life, once I got myself together and started taking life more seriously (however marginal that change may have been), it was solid enough. I got comfortable with the people, with school, and with all of the social dynamics. I didn’t mind that it was all dictated, that all I had to do was make the best of each situation. No other option was ever presented, and I didn’t ask for one.

I was not ready for the college search. I was nervous about the classes because I knew I liked to cram, and I knew the classes would be more challenging, but I knew how to follow instructions and apply myself. When it came time to choose where to go, I struggled with the decision because for the first time in my life, I had to make a choice with some major ramifications. I’d never done that before, deciding where I would spend four years of my life, and it was more than I could handle. I was using a part of my brain I didn’t know existed, and although I ended up at the right school, I wouldn’t recommend my process to anyone else. It was less research and analysis, more applying to a handful of schools that sounded intriguing, and hoping I got in. I only got accepted by two.

The more you make the decision to go somewhere, to pick up and move, the more comfortable you get with making those types of decisions. Make no mistake about it, they’re still terrifying. There are nights you just won’t sleep. There are moments of profound doubt. You’ll try to project how you’ll feel in your new situation. You may even take a trip or two to scope out the new place, but that’s like taking a practice exam and trying to replicate the atmosphere of the actual test. There’s nothing quite like having your feet on the ground, and realizing that you alone are responsible for your success or failure. It’s enough to shake anyone’s confidence, and suddenly your current surroundings, the ones that you’re leaving, look much better by comparison.


Having just re-upped on my current apartment, I have to say that the feeling is weird. It’s weird feeling so comfortable with such a large decision. When I selected an apartment in my building, there was little hesitation, and there was a sureness that I rarely experience. My two friends in the building have since moved out, and yet, there wasn’t much thought given to whether or not I’d stay. I figured that unless rent went sky-high, I was fine where I was. I love where I am in proximity to work, to my family, to the city, and I love the place itself. The stars don’t usually align like that, and I’m grateful for each day that I wake up feeling like this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

As much as I do love it here, I don’t anticipate staying in this apartment, or even this city, for the rest of my life, and so it’s important to know when it’s time to leave a place. The short answer is that you’ll just know. That’s cliché, but you really will feel it when a place just isn’t working anymore. You’ll feel like you need to be somewhere else, a place that’s more manageable, that has more of what you want, or more of what you need.

When it comes to my time in New York, as hard as it might be to admit it, the city just wasn’t worth the strain that it was putting on my sanity. I’d spent a considerable amount of my time there just searching for a job, and it was a code I couldn’t crack. I had come to the city full of optimism and expectations. I went there hoping to turn my life around. I had been excited about all that lay ahead, but none of that initial excitement was with me at the end. Truth be told, I was eager to leave. I couldn’t keep pushing anymore. Few things break you like prolonged unemployment.

Finding a job had proved to be a challenge, but there was more. With no romantic prospects to speak of, and my graduate program having ended, all of my reasons for staying ended within a few months of each other. When you have no reason to stay somewhere, nothing to lock you down or keep you in a certain place, and you’ve been there for a few years, it can make you feel like you’ve failed. You feel like you’ve failed to establish a true presence, a true life, replete with all of the things that make you want to be in any particular place. With my friends leaving for other cities, and my family back in Boston, I realized that I was ready to go. I’d been so happy to live in New York just a few years before, and now I struggled to feel any of that passion for a city that seemed so lonely.

I’ll never forget that person who so eagerly moved to New York. He was so excited to have a brand new life, to be able to move beyond the shadows that had been overwhelming him. He was ready for life, a life in the city, and he lived it as best as he could. Maybe that’s enough. You won’t spend a decade in every place that you live. I lived in my family home for 18 years, and since then, I’ve bounced around quite a bit. I have no regrets.

Every now and again, you get the urge to start fresh. If you move, make sure that you’re moving for the right reasons. Go somewhere because of a job, but more than that, go somewhere because you have this feeling that you can’t deny. On paper, a move can make all the sense in the world, but when you don’t feel it, feel it in your gut, every day will be a challenge. Go somewhere because it’s meant to be, and don’t look back. If that loving feeling runs out, do your best to make the situation work, or pick up and start again. Thanks for reading.


2 thoughts on “So Go

  1. Hey Adam. I find myself marking time with another one of your Thursday posts read and appreciated yet to which I have not responded. My intentions remain genuine – to comment on your well written and communicated posts. They remain in my email inbox, waiting to share a few, perhaps encouraging, observations with you. Stay tuned as “Truth for a Truth” is on deck for feedback with subsequent writings to follow. Enjoying your honest, grounded shares.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Eric! My apologies for not responding sooner to your heartfelt and insightful comments. Your comments give me more to think about, and it’s never not appreciated.
      Have a great week my friend.


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