09 December 2010

Beyond Seattle

I never thought I would settle in Seattle. Hell, I've been here a year and a half already (minus two months in Hawaii), and I never thought I'd stay that long, honestly. So I'm wondering what I'm going to do when my lease is over at the end of April.

I want to start this bookstore -- I'm eager and anxious to do so, actually, as if the possibility of pulling it off is only effervescent, which is nonsense. I don't think I'll have the capital, or more importantly, the emotional wherewithal necessary for opening a business, by spring.

More than that, opening a business isn't just -- or even, isn't really -- about opening it. I will be tying myself down for years, to one place and one job and one dream. On the one hand, that's awesome. I get to really do it, to drink deep and suck all the marrow out of life. I love that. I think I will sincerely adore running my bookstore. But simultaneously, I am scared shitless of that responsibility and that self-made cage. Since October 1st, 2008 -- just over two years ago -- I have lived in twelve different places. (Those count all the addresses I've lived at, an extended motel stay, and "my car.") I do not have a history of geographical steadfastness. I am an inconstant place-lover. I cheat. A lot. Hell, I couldn't even claim in the first paragraph above that I'd really been in Seattle for a year and half because that time period includes Mountlake Terrace, WA; Ninole, HI; Hilo; HI; and the actual city of Seattle, WA. I mean, hell! I know that I'll be okay in one place with something good going to hold me there, but the historical evidence is severely lacking and I doubt myself.

So I doubt I'll be opening the shop in the spring. Where does that leave me?

I could stay at the cafe until inspiration strikes or they go broke, either of which may happen at any moment. I could build up the life I've started in Seattle. I could grow some roots. hat's tempting, interesting, a different kind of adventure. I could learn to really love it here; I'm already further along that path than I expected to be. It's a possibility, at least for awhile. This bookshop is not a Seattle shop; it's a Midwestern one. So I would know that I'm leaving, no matter what.

I could run away to sea for awhile and get my head straight. It'll be the beginning of sailing season, perfect for running off. I could perhaps get a job on a ship, although my lack of experience makes me pessimistic about that. But I could cook. Or spend some serious time on the Nyckel. I miss the sea. A lot.

I could move to Iowa, or whatever other place looks good for my bookstore. I could start setting down roots there, learning all the things only locals know, get a better feel for where and how to set my shop, see if I can handle living in that place for so long, etc. That sounds fun, honestly.

So I don't know. I've even toyed with the idea of moving back to Pittsburgh for a bit, but that's just this strange bout of homesickness I'm going through. Pgh is where I'm from, not where I'm going. So...no idea.

1 comment:

blairhippo said...

Did I ever tell you about my co-worker Stephanie?

Back when I was working for the dot-com that made it big (for certain perfectly reasonable values of "big"), we got large enough that I needed some help with the techie bits. We hired Steph, a skilled she-nerd with a Mac laptop and a case of wanderlust that rivaled yours.

She constructed her life such that I literally didn't know what continent she was on at any given moment. She was USUALLY somewhere in Argentina, roaming the wilds of Patagonia and making sure to spend enough hours per week someplace with a wireless connection that she could make money. But, she could have been in Hong Kong. Or San Francisco. Or ... wherever she damn well felt like being.

I met her in person, once. She was in town for a relative's wedding, and we had lunch. She wasn't sure where she was going from there. Maybe San Fran, maybe back to Argentina, maybe somewhere else. Who knows. She had all her worldly possessions in a couple of bags she had with her, and she'd decide in a couple of days.

If you think your wanderlust has abated to the point that you want to tentatively poke some roots into the soil, rock on. But know that if it hasn't, you are NOT failing at life. You're just living it on your own terms. Do it right and that's the kind of win people tell their friends anecdotes about.