Let Me Stay

by Andie Mitchell on January 3, 2011

 

Today I fly back to Seattle and I’ve got to say…it’s really hard leaving this place.

 

 

I’ve been away from Washington for just over thirty days, and have fallen back in love with my home. Massachusetts. I stepped off the plane on December 1st because my big brother was to be married two days later and between that and Christmas acting as bookends for a month’s stay, I sneezed and it’s over. I’m going to miss it here.

The thing about my home is, it’s just wherever my family and friends are. And the thing about my family and friends is, they’re peppered over the northeast. And so the thing about the northeast is, well, it’s where my heart is.

 

I love Seattle. And moving there eight months ago has been one of the best and most fulfilling changes I’ve made in life. It’s alive, it’s beautiful, it’s positively radiant with optimistic possibility. Everyone seems to be a doer, or a thinker, or a person ablaze with inspiration. There are small businesses and start ups everywhere, new ideas, farmers, growers, entrepreneurs, starving artists, and musicians, filmmakers just trying to get a message across. It’s infectious. People see and go and be and act in ways I am not accustomed to. They’re outside every.single.day, rain or no. Life moves casually, but purposefully, gratefully. I’m happy in the far upper corner of the west. As icky and uppity as it sounds, I feel as though I’m living an authentic life. The one I’d hoped for at nine, ten, and sixteen.

 

 

But the east. Oh the east. I’ve written a history here, where I was born. It’s where I grew to match the landscape. It’s where my brain formed with northeastern edge and loyalty and sincerity and skepticism and directness. It’s a foundation on which I build every other aspect of me. We’re up-front and honest, maybe to a fault. We like dunkin’ our donuts. We have fried whole belly clams and haddock at the ready. Winter is ruthless and mean. Shoveling is both an art and a workout. Summers and sunshine aren’t taken for granted. We head down the Cape with every.single.possession known to man bungee corded somewhat tastelessly to the roof of our car. We see no need for that letter just before S. There’s a tremendous pride lingering here.

And I love that. I do.

 

 

So I’m torn. Me and Natalie Imbruglia both, I bet.

Because when you’re living away from the ones who hold your heart, even if you’re absolutely loving the new place and all the intensity and thrill of life that comes with exploration and risk and change, can you really live as meaningfully?

In the past two years, I’ve lived in Massachusetts, then Pennsylvania, then Connecticut, then Washington. It’s been fun and freeing to feel nomadic. But I guess being home has made me think that I’m missing precious time with these people. They’re growing and I’m growing, but shouldn’t we be doing that within a hundred mile radius? So that we can at least eat ice cream out of the carton at the same time in the evening? In the same time zone?

 

 

The truth is, I go about my days and weeks in Seattle in the most pleasant way. I feel content almost completely. There’s a job I love, a community and a rich culture I can’t quite get enough of, and a backdrop that’s just breathtaking. So I’ll stay for a while longer. Not forever, but for now. Because I’ve always wanted to travel and see new places and to feel like I’m living in a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. I like to think I’m risking stuff. Well, most of the time.

 

 

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Evan Thomas January 3, 2011 at 7:30 am

This reminds me of The Wizard of Oz “There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.” And there really isn’t. I have to say I thought I’d dislike being home a lot more than I do. Sure, I miss being alone sometimes, but having family and friends constantly around is also such a great thing. It’ll be hard for me to go back, too(granted, “back” for me is an hour in the car.)

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Nicole January 3, 2011 at 7:33 am

I’m partial to New England myself… ;) But I think it’s so exciting that you moved to a new state and that you’re having new adventures.

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman January 3, 2011 at 7:49 am

This was beautiful and describes exactly how I feel about Massachusetts. I’ve lived in Philly and Maryland and now Virginia but each time I go home to Mass I feel like, yes, this is home.

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Amy @ Second City Randomness January 3, 2011 at 7:53 am

I’m glad you had a good time at home. As much as I LOVE Chicago, I do sometimes feel a little sad as I drive back to it from an extended stay in Missouri with family and friends.

Have a wonderful first week back! :)

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MelissaNibbles January 3, 2011 at 8:00 am

Have a safe trip back to Seattle :)

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Megan January 3, 2011 at 8:03 am

There’s a reason everyone has those “home is where the heart is” pillows, right? I feel the same way when I leave my parents’ house- even though they live very close! There’s something so comforting about sharing meals and in person conversations with your family that you just can’t recreate over the phone. Although, I also think it’s part of what makes the holidays so special!

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Shanna, like Banana January 3, 2011 at 8:08 am

You use your words so eloquently and so playfully too! A truly beautiful post and it makes my heart yearn for my family that is all over the country and nowhere near me…

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Rachel Wilkerson January 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

“Because when you’re living away from the ones who hold your heart, even if you’re absolutely loving the new place and all the intensity and thrill of life that comes with exploration and risk and change, can you really live as meaningfully?”

I’m so with you on this. It’s SO HARD to be away from home and from family. It’s like, you can love your new place so completely, but you still miss your old place even though you know you couldn’t stay and be totally happy.

Yeah…I so get it.

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Kelly January 3, 2011 at 8:43 am

I completely understand this. I’ve always been torn between the people I love and the desire to be someone else in another place where people don’t know me. I think I’ve reached a healthy balance living in a larger city 30 miles away from my family. But sometimes I crave either of the two extremes. I think it’s all a part of growing up figuring out who you are and who you want to be.

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BP January 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

Massachusetts girl myself, lived in Seattle for 5 years and loved it! Glad we moved back to Mass to be close to family, but I miss Seattle!! Such a great area, great climate, great scenery, great city, the people are wonderful!!

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Niki January 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

There have been so many times I’ve wanted to move from Chicago (particularly in the middle of a snow storm), but when it comes down to it, no place is like Chicago for me. I didn’t want to go away for school b/c I would be too far away from the culture, the entertainment, the fast paced life of the city. And to me, there is only one of “the city” I’ve considered many places and I’ll usually come up with a mile long “con” list to avoid moving. And of course the only “con” for living in Chi-town is the snow. Of course. :)

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Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life January 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

They always say there’s no place like home!

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Kace January 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I can understand how difficult that would be..use Northeasterns are a rare breed, and no one else in the country seems to understand our needs for schedules, honesty, acheivement…etc. Plus, like you, my WHOLE family and all of my friends and my whole life is here. I’ve never lived outisde of PA, and I wonder if I’d be able to make it elsewhere.

I think its amazing that you are exploring the big wide country. If I could I’d take a year and travel the world; you learn so much about yourself, the world, and even your home by leaving it. Boston will be there when you’re ready to move back! Travel and explore while you still can : ) I’m very jealous!

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biz319 January 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Both of my parents familes are from Virginia and when my parents moved to Chicago in 1964, it was just “for a couple years.” But then my brother was born in 1966, my twin sister and I were born in 1968, and they just . . . stayed.

I missed having cousins around all the time and the fact that at yearly family reunions growing up, they were more like strangers than family.

Glad you had a nice visit though – and Happy New Year!

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Leah @ Why Deprive? January 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Seattle is a beautiful city. I love it there. But I cant imagine how hard it would be to live so far away from home. When I moved out of my parents house, I only went 5 minutes up the road.
I’m glad you had such a good time with your family. At least being away from them makes you appreciate your time with them that much more.

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snackgirlgoeshealthy January 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Your incredibly stunning! Like you could be model! Hollyyywood!
I’m sorry you have to leave! It’s freeeezing here in Washington! Yes! I too live in Seattle, how awesome is that!
Even though I’m younger we should totally have a bloggie-lunch together! LOL

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

Yes! Let’s get lunch!

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Michelle January 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Right now I am wanting to move and debate about moving back “home” (Minnesota) or seeing new places; I’ve especially considered moving to the NW.

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Hey Michelle! As much as my heart hurts to leave the NE, I’ve moved around quite and have truly felt like I’m living an adventure. I wouldn’t trade the discoveries and the exploration of myself and the world for anything. It just means I’ll move home someday when I want to settle with a family of my own. Moving, for me, has always been temporary. I highly recommend it!

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Michelle January 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I would love to move around and see more areas of the country, but my husband does not see eye-to-eye on this idea, so that makes it a lot more difficult.

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Anna January 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

This post really spoke to me. I am a Southwestern girl myself, born and raised in Arizona but all of my Dad’s side of the family is from the east coast and every time we spend time out there I feel as if it’s my second home. There’s just something about the New England air, greenery and the people. I’m a west coast girl at heart but I have a feeling I’ll end up going east sooner or later!

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Lisa @ Dishes of Mrs. Fish January 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm

What a beautiful post. With the exception of a 4 year stint in college, I still live and work in my hometown. Although lately, we discussed potentially exploring moving opportunities. How I would love to have such an adventurous attitude like you when it comes to moving. It’s exciting, but I can’t get over the “what its,” of it all.

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

Thank you Lisa! It’s true- moving is really difficult both because of the unknowns and the costs involved. Staying near home is lovely too.

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Lu January 5, 2011 at 7:23 am

Being away from home is hard. Take it from a military wife! I miss my family every day. I take solace in the fact that they are really just a plane ride away. I would take the NE or the NW over my current state though. It could be worse, I guess. There is some killer BBQ here, but not as good as Kansas BBQ. I may get my “I-live-in-TX” card revoked for that last comment.

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Can You Stay for Dinner January 5, 2011 at 7:41 am

Ah the life of a military wife (and family in general) must be tough. How long have you been in TX?

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Healthy Coconut January 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I feel like I’m living in a ‘choose your own adventure’ book…..best line I’ve read in 2011 so far :) Not kidding you, love your writing style.

I visited Seattle for 4 days last year and I felt at home on my last day. That was weird, just love the vibe there.

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) January 6, 2011 at 5:46 am

I love the Northeast as well, but it’s awesome that you’re experiencing different areas and place. Most people never live anywhere but their homestate once in their life (me!) so I give credit to people who travel and see different things. :D

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peggyhogan January 6, 2011 at 7:47 am

Andrea, I love your writing. You bring such interesting details and I know exactly what you mean, even though I’m a midwestern girl. My family is spread out too and I so wish we had the luxery of living nearby. Enjoy your experience in Seattle but take the time to go home and visit as much as you can.

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Annelies January 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I totally agree. While there are definitely things I don’t *love* about Texas, it’s hard to leave friends and family after visiting. The hospitality, the trees, the big rambling sky and taking road trips- all misses from this coast. But they also make it good reasons to go back.

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Tamar January 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm

This post really touched me- I’m from New Jersey, and I truly appreciate everything it taught me to grow up there. So many diverse people, so many people, period. It fascinates me. But I moved to northern California and my eyes were opened in terms of the attitude people have there. You’re right; everyone DOES stuff, very different stuff than what I’m used to. Since then I’ve lived all over the country, and I miss my family and friends from home every day, but I don’t think I can live there for good. Of course, the frequent expensive and long plane rides are not fun, but I will always go back.

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Jen January 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Ah, fellow transplant. I too moved to Seattle after living (and being from) the East Coast. It’s tough. But, as you know, there are many things that make it worth it!

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Maureen June 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi there,

I stumbled across your blog today, and I haven’t been able to stop reading it….You have a beautiful way with words. I think one of the reasons your posts have resonated with me, is because I’ve been trying to change my lifestyle (lose weight) for a long time time now…a few years…and I keep starting and stopping again. I’m now at the heaviest I’ve ever been, by a lot, in my entire life. To say that your words give me hope is an understatement.

I wanted to comment on this post specifically, because your words here echo some of my own sentiments perfectly. “Because when you’re living away from the ones who hold your heart, even if you’re absolutely loving the new place and all the intensity and thrill of life that comes with exploration and risk and change, can you really live as meaningfully?” I moved from Michigan (where I had lived all my life, for 23 years), to Maine 2 years ago, and I’ve been struggling with this thought ever since. To fall in love with a place so completely, all the while missing everyone you hold dear at the exact same time…it’s an intense contradiction of feelings. Anyway, I think you’re incredibly brave, and thank you for inspiring me to wake up and try again tomorrow.

Maureen

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