Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I have a really hard time staying positive and upbeat. I can go negative real quick, real easy. When your adolescence is filled with poverty, disappointment, negativity, and disillusionment, it can be difficult to transition into adulthood seeing the good instead of the bad, the happy instead of the sad, and to remain appreciative of what you have, instead of desirous of what you don't have. And when you find yourself in a (physical) place that had so much potential, and held so much promise, but has failed to live up to the happy, positive expectations you had, it can be an even bigger blow. I find myself wishing - every day - that we lived anywhere but here. That's not entirely fair, I know. We have a beautiful house that we have managed to make into a lovely, comfortable home for our little family. But so often I find myself wishing this house was located in a different town, in a different state, across the country. I sometimes think that if I was just a different sort of person that I could be happy here. But then I wouldn't be me, would I? I could, of course, lie to myself everyday in an attempt to convince my psyche that I do in fact love where I live. In my old career we had a saying - Fake it Until You Make It. I found, however, that by the time I made it I was so exhausted and overwhelmed with the faking it part that I couldn't appreciate the fact that I'd achieved something. I also suspect that I couldn't appreciate that I'd achieved something because the thing I'd supposedly achieved held no real value for me personally.

And I think that's at the heart of what's going on in my heart: what do I (or don't I) value?

When we first moved to the Bay Area we lived in a tiny apartment in San Francisco and that felt like a huge accomplishment to me because living in a fast-paced, vibrant city full of food, arts, and culture was something I valued. I wanted to be that girl - the one who rides public transportation to go shopping, who wanders down trendy shop-lined streets, and eats at both the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall restaurants and the ones that were being written up and praised by national media. And it was great, and it definitely had a place in our life, and I'll always look back on that time fondly (even though not everything was peaches & cream, unicorns & rainbows) because it fit perfectly for the me - the us - of that time.

But over time what I value and who I want to be has changed - dramatically.

Growing up in the desert, I wanted nothing more than to live in the city. Going to college smack dab in the middle of the city was an exciting, rewarding experience. When we moved to the suburbs of Pittsburgh I felt a bit dead inside. I felt like we'd given up on who we wanted to be. Who we needed to be. And then it was back to the city. And now we've been living in an urban area with what is described as having a neighborhood feel. And I'm sure that's true - for the right sort of person. But I'm not the person I used to be. I sometimes wonder if at the ripe old age of 35 I am having an identity crisis.

As I drove down Telegraph this morning - the main thoroughfare for our neighborhood - I tried to see what everyone else sees: cafes, shops, food, art. I tried - I really tried - to look at it with fresh eyes and love it the way everyone else who lives here seems to love it. I had a moment where I imagined the neighborhood as if it was the first time I was seeing it after reading about it in Sunset or The New York Times. I can see what they see. I can step outside my own narrative long enough to understand the allure that this place holds for people - the realization is that I'm just not that type of person. The simple truth is that no matter how much I might have been that person before, today - and tomorrow - I don't want a gentrified urban slice of life.

I want quiet. I want solitude. I want nature, and beauty, and green. I look around and I see concrete as far as the eye can see. I see cars for miles. I hear noise. So much noise - people screaming, buses churning, cars honking, sirens blaring, helicopters whirring. And I see people I don't relate to on any level - hipsters, hippies, homeless people, thugs, mommies with $600 strollers. I'm in a world between. No, not between. Outside of.  And then it hits me: I'm not suffering from an identity crisis. I think maybe, finally, I know who I want to be when I grow up.


  1. This is such a beautifully written post. It resonated with me, but it resonated with me in this kind of odd way... I grew up on a dairy farm in the middle of no where and, after meeting another country kid, getting married, and moving to the big city, we've agreed that, one day, we'll return to the solitude, the  nature, the green that we grew up in. It's just a matter of time. But, oddly, I'm starting to change, to appreciate the 'concrete jungle', to wonder if this is where I fit. 

    It's amazing how we grow, isn't it? 

  2. There is a lot to like about the concrete jungle, not the least of which is the convenience of having so much at your fingertips. I just feel so overwhelmed by it all a lot of the time. I've not doubt that my anxiety plays a large role in those feelings. I feel much more at peace when there's not so much of everything.

  3. Powerful post, Becky. I think we never stop changing (evolving hopefully). What we want and need out of life in our 20s isn't necessarily going to be what we want and need in our 30s or 40s, and certainly not in our 60s and beyond. But that has to be ok, I'm telling myself. How boring would life be if we didn't search for new/different experiences throughout our lives. What matters is to try to be true to what we really want in our hearts. I think that is also the most difficult of all things.

    But good for you for being concious enough, and brave enough, to go for it.


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