Lately, my acquaintances and friends have been leaving San Diego in droves. This phenomenon appears in predictable waves: it occurred after I graduated college, after I graduated law school, and for a third time when my classmates found jobs elsewhere.
I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. I'm sad to see my friends leave. I'm happy that they will be embarking on new adventures. I'm envious because a part of me believes that I should be the one going on these adventures. I'm resentful and afraid of being forgotten and left behind. Still, I'm touched with the quiet relief that I won't have to leave the city I have only recently begun to embrace.
When I told a friend that I had found my dream job in San Diego, she followed up her hearty congratulations with a comment that sent a stab of panic into my soul. She predicted, jokingly, that I will end up staying in San Diego forever. While I adore this city and readily acknowledge that there are far, far worse places to be "stuck", a part of me wonders if I will allow or have already begun to allow this warm Southern California sun to lull me into complacency.
I've been thinking a lot about the nature of leaving and the people who make up these sudden or not-so-sudden departures. I've been thinking about the people who work their way into our schedules and become smiling fixtures. I've been thinking about the people who have become the unwitting backbone of many support systems. I've been thinking about the people who drop into our lives, unexpectedly, and leave a warm, fuzzy imprint.
I used to think of myself as someone untethered, someone who could and would befriend and laugh and love and wander and explore and change, recklessly. Fly by the seat of my pants and escape by the skin of my teeth and wear my heart on my sleeve and all that nonsense. Now I'm becoming terribly sentimental. Now I wish I could hold on, just a little longer.