And I did just that. I went searching for it.
Now, normally I refrain from telling people to go look for someone to love. This is a dating no-no because essentially the love of your life will find you when you start doing the things you love (e.g. writing). However, like most rules, there are always exceptions.
Most readers may have (or not) been aware of my recent journey to the west coast in pursuit of goal number nine. (My reasoning behind my writing hiatus.) Namely because I enjoyed boasting (on facebook) to my east-coast friends that I was far, far away living three hours behind all of them. I am sure most
readers facebook friends will also be glad the moment I stop counting down the days of getting the heck out of Florida.
I like to think that when most little girls were dreaming of their wedding, I had been romanticizing the day of leaving, and living in a new city where I knew absolutely no one. After all, it’s what you do as an adult, right? You go to school, you graduate, and you leave the
state nest. That’s not the case for the people who live in a life of security. Fortunately, I am not one of them. My mom says I was blessed with the gypsy gene. I thank her for it.
I was quite certain that the city to complement 22-year-old Jamie was over there, whether it be San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, or Portland. I knew it was where I wanted to be: on the west coast and as far away from Florida as possible. It’s a difficult decision figuring out where one wants to call home. What is a home anyway? The home I have come to known is boring, dull, and monotonous. I have become comfortable. It is my security blanket. It is being with someone because you don’t think you deserve better. Oh, you do. It’s settling in a rut. And it’s not what anyone at 22 should be doing. I do know that home shouldn’t be a place I call wretched or talk shit about right in front of it, but I do. Rather, it should be a place I want to show off. It should be a place where I am proud to call it my home. You know, quite similar to showing off that Mr. Almost Right on your arm.
So, how does one come up with the qualifications for a city to win a heart? Simple. It’s just like my figuring out what the qualifications of Mr. Almost Right would be.
- It needs to be a blue city. Preferably a blue state, altogether. I’m a liberal stuck in a conservative state. HELP!
- I’m tired of the humidity and the heat. The city must welcome other temperatures other than “Today is hot. I hope you don’t melt.”
- Are cars dependent? Yes? Really? This probably means the public transit sucks and the city is terribly spread out. I want it to feel as close as possible to living in Europe (ha!) while living right here in the States. I want to spend less money on gasoline and have my new diet regime consist of living in a walkable city. That way, my city will never leave me for getting fat. (Or that Mr. Almost Right.)
- The average age and IQ should not, I repeat NOT, be 75. Plain and simple!
- Our values should be the same. I’m not religious, so I would like to stay away from the Bible belt.
- Also, I believe spending time with good company is more important than working in an office for eight hours a day. I don’t think making the most money equates to being successful. Which kind of also means, I hate big corporations and I would rather support a local business. Which also, ALSO means I don’t want to live where chain-restaurants align the streets.
- I like to think I am creative. Naturally, I want to live in an artsy city. I need inspiration!
- Okay, I know this is really shallow, BUT I want to live in a pretty city. Florida is just plain ugly (and flat), and I cannot take it any longer. Give me mountains!
- I don’t want to be within driving distance just to the beach. I don’t like the beach. Give me mountains!
- Last, but not least, I want my new city to make me feel like this. You know, like a bunch of hippies dancing.
I knew I would find it here. It hit me when I was inside strolling through the world’s largest independent book store, when I was deciding what to eat amongst the city block of food-carts, when I was being serenaded to on the streets by a guy from Boise looking for a few extra dollars, when I was taking in all the green landscape (Oh, and there IS a mountain), and when I was getting around the city without a car.
My mom said I would just know, and sure enough as I was people watching alongside the Willamette River I knew this was where I wanted to be. I wanted this to be my home, for now. I wanted this to be the place to show-off to my east-coast friends: See? It’s possible! You really can leave Florida. Do it while you still can! Do it before Rick Scott ruins this place! Now! Hurry!
Although I’m sad to leave my mom, I’m so, so, SO ready to leave this place. And I am. Today.