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.