The Wrong Narrative

This morning, Jen over at Jen’s Life (I adore her URL), responded to a comment I had made on her post. In it, she asks, “Do you really REALLY want to come back west? If so, do it!” And, I thought, why don’t I move back west? If that is what I really REALLY want to do, what’s holding me back? I’ve dreamt of moving back to Denver for years, probably as long as I’ve lived in Boston. And yet, I haven’t done it. Why is this?

I spent most of today with this question running an endless track in the back of my head. Is this just an old pattern that I’ve become used to? Am I reverting back to memories of my youth and the good times I experienced then? When life was a bit more chaotic and exciting? When I lived life a bit more freely? What’s so bad about Boston? Why was I so hesitant to move on, move away, move forward?

Truth be told, when unpacking my hesitation, I realized that moving back to Denver would be a step backward. I would be giving up what is actually a very phenomenal life here in Boston. I just haven’t taken full advantage of it yet. I grew up about two hours from Boston and would skip classes in high school to come up here for the day, buy a cup of coffee and sit on a bench on the Common, writing in my notebook. I would dream of living in the city, partly because it was all I knew of the world and partly because it wasn’t my home town (I desperately wanted to leave as soon as possible). And when I moved here eight years ago, I thought, Why Nicole, you’ve come full circle! Back where your writing dreams were born. When I was offered the first job I had here, I remember jumping up and down with my brother outside of Faneuil Hall. I was ecstatic. I was going to live and work in Boston!

However, I grew depressed here. There were many reasons for it: the edge of New Englanders (I forgot how cold we can be to outsiders), a bad marriage, an unethical first job in the city (although, I did have my own office, something which I have yet to have again). The first four or five years were rough. Now though, things are so much better. And I’ve begun to feel more at home here, making decisions that will get me out into the world. In fact, I’m headed to an interesting get together with a bunch of strangers before the Super Bowl this Sunday. It should prove to be very…um, interesting.

Along with starting to make better decisions is not making stupid decisions. Whenever I read some of the /r/personalfinance horror stories, more often than not, it’s been caused by a careless decision. We’re all guilty of it (fuck, do you know how many careless and downright stupid decisions I’ve made in my life?). I don’t want to make another stupid decision. Right now, I have security. Financial security, health insurance, close family (well, parents in Connecticut and brother in Rhode Island), a great job that really challenges me, an amazing best friend, and the opportunity to sit here and write every single day. The bear is definitely restless but I’m trying to tame her a bit.

Pugger helping write tonight's post.

I read somewhere that a key to living a healthy, good life is less in making the right decisions and more in not making stupid ones. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot and I have a shitty track record in that area (I could make the horrible joke of how bloody my feet are but, well, I am just not in the mood ;)). Sure, there are definitely things I want to change. I think moving to a different city is an easy fix for me. Uprooting a life shakes everything up. It gives me the feeling of moving forward.

But, I’ll still have the same problems in Denver that I have here…and then some. Less security, less money, less support. And I have my sweet Pugger to think of (he’s not getting any younger and the last years of his life should be spent without his momma worrying about how she’s going to pay for vet bills).

Perhaps the narrative I’ve been telling myself is all wrong. Thinking about that question all day and the “If so, do it!” has been a bit of an eye opener for me. It’s kind of funny. Each time I’ve brought up moving back to Denver, I’ve been told how good I have things here. “Why would you want to give all that up?” was the question. But having those four words give me permission, in a sense, has led to me questioning if that’s what I really wanted. And I don’t think it is.

So Jen, if you’re reading this, thanks for the help today!