When I was 12 years old, my family and I packed up our lives and moved from Connecticut to Ohio. The changes in my environment were drastically obvious. For example, in Connecticut my 6th grade class consisted of 12 students. In Ohio, there were over 500 students. In Connecticut, I had a built-in friend group from my history in recreational sports leagues. In Ohio, I didn’t know anyone. These contrasts may have been more uncomfortable if I wasn’t still an optimistic child. And while I’m sure they shaped my views of the world, of permanence, of “home”, I adapted to it because that was the only thing I knew how to do--a comforting thought, now that I consider it.
And when I turned 18, I was trying to decide on what to do with my life. Where did I want my path to lead? Where was I going to study for the next four years? I had a reverence and good regard for Boston since childhood, perhaps because of my father’s love for the Red Sox. But when I visited The New England Institute of Art, saw the culture, met some of the people that would grow to be my greatest mentors and friends, I knew where I wanted to be. And so my parents helped me pack up the little Subaru with the suitcases and the twin bedspread, and brought me to Boston, dropping me off at a lovely, little, tree lined campus in Chestnut Hill.
And I lovvvvved Boston! The trains, the interesting people, the complicated streets--these sort of sound like negative things when I say them “out loud” but I loved them. It was such a different space from anything I had ever known. There was intricate graffiti on an abandoned brownstone here, and the smell of hotdogs and mustard over there. There was the general excitement and buzz of youth, my peers, the folks that had never been more ready to learn and grow and explore and test their boundaries.
I don’t recall missing Connecticut anymore. I didn’t think much about Ohio either. I was so caught up in my own experiences that I forgot to check in with the experiences of my old sidekicks. And they did the same. They excitedly trotted down the paths they chose for themselves too.
As my formal college schooling drew to an end, I met a young woman. I had never been so impressed with a personality. Astonishingly smart, hilariously playful, fun. A great human being to be around. She was my kind of person and I was her kind of person. Our relationship strengthened to the point where we both just knew that it was something to cherish, keep safe, and prioritize. So when she considered her own career path, that it didn’t feel quite right, it felt obvious to support her in figuring out where it needed to go. The search brought her to study hard every night, take the MCATs, apply to over 20 medical schools, and go on interviews, and wait and wait and wait and wait. Until finally, after two years of wondering what would happen, she got into a medical school at New York Medical School.
Which brings us to present day. I’m writing this post to let you know that, as part of my path to support the woman I love and to grow and explore my own career, I’ll be moving to New York City at the end of the summer. I’m still in the process of finding work and making connections. *if you know anyone there, please let me know*
Regardless of all the work still to be done--finding an apartment, learning the subway system, finding work and friends and a local bar, a place to call my own in a brand new city, I am aware of the complexity of the feelings I have. I am excited and scared and happy and sad. But above all I feel loved. The energy of the city of Boston itself, along with all the folks I’ve met here (if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably one of them), the city is and you are all a part of me now. To some degree, I am a very different person than the one I was when I came to Boston. But I guess everywhere you go, you take a piece of past with you, like it or not.
So here we go….the journey approaches. I look forward to the party I’ll have before I leave. And I’ll be back--probably more than even I realize. Box of Birds will still be a thing. My relationships with my best friends, mentors, and muses will still be a thing. I’ll just be sleeping in a (probably) really small, brick apartment somewhere in Harlem, probably being woken up by another drunken idiot just like when I lived in Allston.