A rolling stone, as they say, gathers no moss. Or, more accurately, very little.
I know I’m starting this whole thing off with a cliché, but it’s the best way I can think of to sum life, or at least adult life, up to this point.
When people ask me where I’m from, I always unintentionally take a beat before answering, because I don’t really know what to say. I’ve lived more places than most people.
- Birth – 0.5 years: Beverly Hills, Michigan
- Age 0.5-2.5: Holden, Massachusetts
- 2.5-16: Birmingham, Michigan
- 16-18: Annapolis, Maryland
- 18-23: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 23-26: Chicago, Illinois
- 26-28: San Francisco, California
- 28-???: Boston, Massachusetts
Usually, I end up telling people that I “grew up” in Michigan, since that’s where I spent the majority of my life. But the truth is that Michigan is not what I consider home. When I say “I’m going home for Christmas” or some other occasion, I’m referring to Annapolis, where my parents have lived for the past 12 years and where I graduated from high school.
(I feel the need to add that all of this wishy-washy “I don’t know where I’m from” stuff goes right out the window when we’re talking about hockey, because if you say anything that goes against my Red Wings I will go Detroit on your ass so fast your head will spin.)
And, even though I refer to Maryland as “home,” it is not my home. I have been on a search for my home for what seems like forever. I moved to Philadelphia after high school to go to the University of Pennsylvania. While I steadfastly believe that Philly is the BEST “first city” for a young adult to live in, after college and another year (and a bad, bad breakup) there it got a little claustrophobic. And so, essentially on a whim, my best friend Colleen and I packed our possessions and unwitting cat into a Penske truck and were off to Chicago.
Chicago is another truly great city, and there are many things that I miss about it. It has this awesome blend of culture that comes from Midwestern sensibilities blending with more cosmopolitan tastes, and is an amazing place to be when you’re in your early 20s. I would also guess that it’s a great city to start a family in. Mid-20s, though, get a little awkward if you aren’t careful. One day about two years into our time in Chicago, Colleen and I stepped out to go get brunch, and both wondered aloud “why did we move to a neighborhood so full of 23-year-olds who think that they’re awesome?” And we realized, of course, that we had been 23 and thought we were awesome when we moved there. It was clear that we had outgrown the neighborhood and it was time to move on. So Colleen moved to New York and later Boston, and I made it my mission to get myself to San Francisco. Six months later, I got my wish, and was asked to move there for work.
Why San Francisco? I have very little idea, actually. My little sister lives in LA, but she also went to college in LA and has always wanted a very LA job – that has always been her city. I wanted to try California, but in my own way. Also, pale redheads have a hard time in LA. Also, my job was in San Francisco.
A year or so after moving out here, it dawned on me that I wasn’t really building a life. Yes, I had some friends and a career and a hobby and an apartment I had finally finished furnishing, but it didn’t feel like I was putting down any roots. I tried making plans to do that by getting back into horseback riding more seriously and planning to move to the East Bay, but I realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to fake my way into making a permanent home out here. So, when the opportunity to move to Boston came up – home of much of my family and my best friend – I embraced it.
And my goal? Make it stick. Y’know, gather a little moss.
So here’s the story of how I stopped coasting, and tried to build a life.