When I moved out of NYC, my mom gave me a copy of Goodbye to All That, an anthology of short essays about living in, and leaving, New York. But when I moved to Colorado, I didn’t think I’d be saying goodbye. Sure, I was moving, but I’m lucky enough to work at a job where I travel quite a bit, and I figured I’d be back to New York plenty. So far I’ve been able to visit New York three times since I moved in January, but after this trip back, it’s clear that quite a lot actually changed when I left, and that I can’t get those things back simply by visiting. They say you can’t go home, and now I think that’s true.
My trip this weekend spanned New York City, Albany, and New Hampshire – and unfortunately, a lot of it just wasn’t the good time I was hoping it would be. A lot of my relationships back east seem to have changed. Not always in bad ways, like my best friend who’s gotten really serious and settled down with his girlfriend (yay). But so many relationships are so very different than they once were, and I realized that in most cases, we couldn’t just go back to the way things used to be. In fact, each relationship responded to the cross-country move in the exact opposite way that I thought it would.
With the new relationships that I formed not too long before moving, it was great to catch up and see each other in person. With the old relationships that I admittedly was the one to let languish, we picked back up and things were better than ever. I feel like my visit strengthened both of those types of relationships and that we’ll be closer and probably stay in better touch now that we’ve gotten to see each other in person.
That all sounds really positive, but then we come to my closest relationships. These were the one that I’ve put a lot of work into trying to preserve since moving, and before I moved, I felt the most confident that these could weather the distance and would survive just fine. Unfortunately, seeing these people ended up being kind of awkward… and in some cases, I was even criticized and insulted. Going forward, I think there are a few relationships that are just not going to exist anymore, and it really upsets me to let those go. These were the relationships that I thought were so strong that nothing could ever change them, and it scares me to think that if I had known things would end like this, I might have actually considered it a reason not to move. And I am so glad I made the right decision for me and moved!
So maybe it’s time to say goodbye to all that – goodbye to the east coast and most of my relationships there. I once heard the phrase, “in leaving the nest, the baby bird can’t help but destroy it.” (Anyone know where that’s from? Perhaps some terrible kiddie chapter book that I read over and over?) I think it’s a pretty apt analogy, though, and I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to make sure that I don’t destroy my former “nest”, but failing to recognize that it’s already in pieces. I’ve been trying to embrace my new home in Colorado in a lot of different ways, but I think to really find happiness there I need to stop wasting time chasing long-distance relationships with those who don’t accept my move and aren’t making their own efforts to continue our relationship.
Instead, I need to focus on the amazing Colorado relationships that I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have already made – much faster than I ever thought possible. (Another surprise of the moving process, although this is a really positive one!) In the near future, I’m looking forward to getting to spend a lot more time in Colorado, and a lot more time getting to nurture those relationships 🙂