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No Place Like….Where?

February 25, 2009

For all intents and purposes, I have only five months left in Colorado. I don’t officially leave until September, but will be spending April in California with the family. I get very grumpy when I think about leaving Colorado. In fact, it terrifies me. I don’t really want to leave. I can come up with all sorts of reasons and justifications in effort to convince myself that leaving isn’t a bad thing, but really, I don’t want to.

Every moment is bittersweet because I know I’ll be leaving it all behind.

I’ve never felt like this before. I’ve never ever had any trouble leaving anyplace. I appreciated my hometown, took advantage of my college community, and enjoyed my semester abroad in Amsterdam, but I never had any sort of attachment to these places that kept me from leaving them. I was always more excited by what lay ahead than upset about what I was leaving behind. That’s not true in this case. Instead of excited, I’m worried, anxious, and upset. This is the first place I haven’t been chomping at the bit to leave. In fact, I don’t want to leave at all. I never realized a physical location could resonate this deeply. I didn’t know it was possible to fall in love with a place just like you could with a person.  This place has felt more like home than home ever did.

Why would I trade Colorado for California? It’s prettier here, less expensive, I have my friends here, my horse!, the economy is better, the mentality is more aligned with mine, and it appeals to my interest more. The only physical upside California has are the beaches and the weather. I’ve never been much of a beach person, and I can find comparable weather here. If I’ve found what I’m looking for, then why keep looking?

Why would I leave that? How could I easily or willingly walk away from the place that has made me so happy?

City Data Forum doesn’t help either. Going through the forums I read ardent praise for Colorado and nothing but spite and anger from California. The Californians who post in the California forum are downright hostile and most everyone there is trying to leave the state…..for Colorado in many cases. I know CDF only represents the most vocal and soapboxy, but it’s hard not to see it as a sign. It seems that the people who post on the forum who want what I want are the ones trying to get the hell out of California. They say its “too expensive, too hot, too many taxes, too much traffic, too many people, too much of a rat race, too much keeping up with the Joneses”. All my fears. I’m just hoping that the people posting are from the major cities where all these problems occur. I’m hoping to move to a town of less than 2,000 out in the boonies. Hopefully the stereotypical California mentality hasn’t managed to work it’s way there yet.

The more I think about it, the more I question my commitment to go back. I fear that I’ll be forcing myself to act happy, rather than letting happiness come naturally and organically, like it does here.

My usual litmus test for making a big decision is… “If I make this choice, will I wake up everyday wondering what life would be like if I chose the other option?” I think that if I go to California, I’ll wonder every morning “What would I be doing if I was in Colorado right now?” I don’t know if I could live with that.

There ARE valid reasons why I’m returning, but I think a lot of them are more for other people than myself and I don’t like that. If it wasn’t for other people, I probably wouldn’t be going back. But some of these people are very important to me and their happiness counts. But does it count at the cost of my own?

I really hope my attitude changes once I’m there. I’m going to try to not go into this with a closed and angry mind. I really will try to like it I hope. I really hope that once I’m there it will be different and that I’ll know I made the right choice.

But then again, isn’t that like trying to fix a rocky relationship by getting married? Commitment to something uncertain doesn’t make it better. It just traps you. We all know how those relationships work out.

Gosh I hope I figure this out in the next few months.

Watch, I’ll completely change my mind tomorrow and want nothing more than to go back to sunny California.

I wonder if maybe this has nothing do with California as a place, and everything to do with it as a name. I really do have a mental block that keeps me from going backwards. I like to go forward to new places…new things…new experiences…new insights. I’d be perfectly ok leaving Colorado to go to Tennessee or Idaho or Vermont…so maybe my reluctance to go back to California is just because I’ll consider it defeat? Like “California city girl couldn’t cut it in Colorado and ran back home with her tail between her legs.” Maybe I’ve just mentally excluded California because I’ve “been there done that”. If this is the case, then hopefully I’ll be able to get over it.

*sigh* A guy just walked into my work wearing a cowboy hat and I look out my window and see The Rockies. How can I leave?

My gut says to stay. But again, my gut is often inconsistent.

I really wish I could isolate the reason why I’m balking so much at going back. Something more concrete and reliable than “I feel it in my bones” sort of thing.

I hear all the time about people that came up here for a seasonal job, and years later, they’re still here.  I’m jealous of them. They made it work, why can’t I?

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