I've moved around for as long as I can remember. Every few years we'd pack up our belongings and begin again somewhere else. Or to be more precise, I'd begin again. I eventually came to understand this pattern, and my life, as a cyclical process, a matter of fact. Secretly, I hoped that, like birds migrating across continents as seasons change, we'd return to the places I once knew, though I'd be a little older and more experienced in life. Experience has since taught me that, as romantic (literary not emotional) as that notion may be, the reality is that people and places change regardless of where you are, and the hope that they stay the same is a beautifully naïve dream.
As an adult, my yearning for return has evolved into a sense of restlessness, often disguised as anxiety or ennui. I start to get "the mean reds" as Holly Golightly succinctly put it - being suddenly afraid but not even sure what of. It is a feeling of wanting to do something, be somewhere foreign, be anonymous. I want to make a distinction though -this isn't about wanderlust. Although I really do love that word, it has come to connote images of wealthy millennials visiting exotic countries, equipped with Instagram and Facebook on the ready - which is not at all what I feel. What bothers me, crawls under my skin, and attaches to my soul is an anxiety and fear of the familiar. It's as though my roots have begun to set and then there's this overwhelming fear that I'll either never want to move again, or that if I do, it'll be too hard to try. I have a fear of the static, the stagnant, the still.
Sometimes I have to forcibly uproot myself. I extract myself from what I know and go to places unfamiliar and unknown. Often times this process presents itself as a last minute (and sometimes inconvenient) opportunity. It almost always requires a leap of faith, but I find going away somewhere different forces me to see the essentials in my life. I sleep on sheets countless strangers have slept on. I eat at anonymous diners and talk to strangers. I let go.
Maybe this yearning for change is the path to the nirvana that is the American Dream. Maybe it's a side effect of it. Maybe this is all bullshit. I don't know, but I'll never stop uprooting myself, chasing the dream.