Next month, I will be moving to a small town not too far away from Portland. My younger self is shocked that I am not moving to Rome or Buenos Aires. Technically, I could do that right now and make it work for at least a few years. However my choice feels bigger than simply deciding on a place to live. It is about who I am now and which experiences I most want to have.
When my good friend Karen decided she wanted to live in Amsterdam many years ago, she surrounded herself with images of the city, took trips to visit as much as possible, and although it was probably hard to make a specific plan, she did everything in her power, using her inner and outer vision, to keep her sights on that place. She finally had the opportunity to live there but things with her living arrangement fell through after a couple years and she came back home to live and work for a while. And then she went back. The pull was that strong. She has been there for over 15 years now. I haven't done anything remotely similar.
I think of myself as a work person. I get the most satisfaction in my life from working and producing work such as films. I have always made myself busy with work, and yes it can be a problem, but also it has been a marker of what I find important. I love my people, my dog, and nature; couldn’t live without them. But I think it would be hardest to live without the ability to do my work in some way.
My younger self imagined making super specific choices, with all possible opportunities laid before her, especially as she got older and infinitely more powerful and accomplished. So if she were to make this decision for me, she would be moving to a very glamorous city right now. She was funny and energetic; pretty, moody, silly, sensual, and really insecure. But I am different. More grounded, more fulfilled, not willing to give up the most important parts of my life to fit into a great picture.
So I will give up easy access to the Spanish Steps and all the history, mopeds, and tiny espressos that come with them in exchange for a sanctuary/home surrounded by the delicious, mossy forests of the Pacific NW, and the continuation of my work. It’s weird to just come out and say it, that I have decided not to move to someplace amazing and historic like Rome. Just like some part of me still imagines becoming a professional dancer. I’ve NEVER been a good dancer. But I’ll probably hold onto that until I’m 80. There are little rooms in my brain where I keep stuff like that. Dreams to savor but not to necessarily realize.