I remember when I had a layover in Memphis on my way back from Austin. The Megabus required two hours to get cleaned and switch drivers. It was around 10pm and I hadn’t gotten much sleep that whole weekend in Austin, but I was wide awake. I spent those two hours meticulously planning out the inner workings of my move. Something clicked in me the last night that I was there. I just knew that Austin was where I wanted to be. I decided right then and there that everything I did would be in service of moving.
As the day grew nearer things sort of changed.
See, before, when I mentioned wanting to move out of state to my therapist it was just a thought. Then when I went to Austin on vacation it was just a dream. When my countdown was still in the triple digits it was just in the works. In the double digits it suddenly became a plan.
And now… two days before my move… it is a reality.
It’s one of those things that you’re pretty sure is going to happen, but until it comes close it doesn’t really feel real yet. I spent 116 days planning this move down to the last detail. I set a budget, I moved back home to save money, I got two jobs, I spent quality time with my family, got an apartment, took care of any loose ends, etc. In fact, I made a checklist for the biggest things I had to do in order to make sure everything was in order before my move.
I was very serious about this. After the year I’d had I was just done with Chicago. I’ve lived here all my life and there are too many memories here. There was a lot of good of course, and I’d always treasure the good,but the bad really got me down. At least in Austin I’d be far away enough to weed out the good from the bad and really be able to remember it.
Yes, Chicago held too much pain that -while I have mentally moved on from it- I don’t really want to be reminded of on a daily basis.
In Chicago I had my worst bout of depression.
In Chicago I got my heart broken.
In Chicago I was abused.
In Chicago Here I had money issues.
In Chicago I had many drunken nights that I had to apologize for in the morning.
In Chicago I almost lost my life.
But Austin would be different.
In Austin I’d feel fresh and new.
In Austin I’d have medication.
In Austin I wouldn’t have the daily reminder of the bad memories I’ve had in Chicago.
In Austin I’d make new friends while still being able to keep my current ones.
In Austin I’d get a fun server job and get along with my co workers.
In Austin I’d have great roommates and we’d live in peace together.
In Austin my money problems wouldn’t exist.
In Austin I might even fall in love with a great guy.
In Austin I’d find myself.
But the thing is… That’s a lot of pressure on Austin.
I lived in this fantasy world where I thought Austin would be perfect, but that’s just not the reality. I will struggle in Austin. I might not find a job right away, or make enough to pay all of my bills, satisfy my thrift shopping habit, and still go out and have fun as much as I want to. My roommates and I may not always get along. I may get my heart broken in Austin. I may not even get to a relationship phase with someone. I may spend some lonely nights with my cat because I haven’t made friends right away. I may have bitches for co-workers.
The point is I’ve decided to stop romanticizing Austin simply because it’s really stressing me out to pretend.
I guess no matter how much or how far ahead you plan, it’ll never really ease all of your anxiety. (especially since I have anxiety to begin with),
Regardless of all of this, I have to remember that all of this isn’t depression or anxiety talking. This is how people without a mental illness would react to moving out of state. It’s a big deal, so I shouldn’t judge myself for it.
If anything I should have compassion for myself.
Ultimately, even though it is absolutely clear that Austin won’t be perfect 100% of the time, I am going to make some awesome memories there. Chicago may be riddled in bad memories, but the good ones… when I think of them I instantly feel warm and fuzzy inside. I’m leaving because those memories are just that… memories. They are gone. Now it’s time to make new ones I’ll look back on fondly some day. So instead of focusing on the bad that may happen, I’ve decided I’m going to accept the bad, and enjoy the good as much as I can. And when I make too many memories in Austin… Well, NYC will be waiting for me.
That’s the beauty of 8 cities 8 years.
Once my cup is dry, in comes another wonderful year to fill it back up.
After all, the only thing scarier than going is not going.