A year ago at this time, I was somewhere in Oregon, driving north in a car stuffed with my cats, my bike, the contents of my entire pantry, the plant I've had since college, boxes of "important" files and some toilet paper (because it sucks to move into a new place and, ahem, make yourself at home, only to realize something very essential is missing). The car was so full that said toilet paper was actually awkwardly smashed against the rear passenger window, which I'm sure looked really classy.
This traveling circus arrived in Seattle just before midnight. I remember pulling up in front of my apartment and thinking: I have no idea what is going to happen next.
Confession: I can't recall the last time I fully unpacked. I don't think it's ever actually happened; I've never lived anywhere that felt permanent. I've spent my life jumping from one situation to the next. When I was in college, I counted down to graduation, so I could "grow up" and be part of the real world. When I got my first full-time job, I hated it and wanted to go back to school. When I went back to school, I was so poor that I couldn't wait to go back to work. And then it was job after job after job and move after move after move.
Since graduating college in 2000, I've moved nine times and lived in three states.
There are boxes in my closet, and I don't have a clue what's in them.
I have this dumb joke I tell people who want to know where I'm from and how I ended up here. It goes like this: "I grew up in L.A. and apparently have been moving north ever since. I'll probably end up in Alaska eventually."
It's weird to turn 36 and feel like a child: Single, no roots, trying to negotiate with your landlord so you can go month-to-month instead of signing another lease. I don't think I've fallen into this kind of life by accident. This is the easier choice, because picking just one place -- looking around at the trees and the dirt and the sky and saying: "Yes, this is it. Right here" -- is terrifying.
But lately I've started to feel something different.