I thought I missed the changing of seasons. I thought I missed small towns. I thought I missed having the great outdoors right in my backyard. And I thought I missed being close to my family.
Turns out, I was only right about that last thing.
This last year and a half has been life-changing to say the least. When Jeff and I moved to Bayfield Colorado — a rural town of less than 1500 people — we had no idea what to expect. What we found was that time slowed. Nothing happened. Good, live music ceased to exist. Interesting people and potential friends were few and far between.
We lived right on Main Street of that small town and the busiest and most exciting it ever got was once on the Fourth of July. Other than that, the most activity that street saw was during church night on Wednesdays and for little league baseball and middle-aged softball games in the summer.
People in small towns, we also found out, live in small towns for a reason, and while a handful of them do it to be close to nature, most, it seems, do it to be far away from people. My dad’s favorite saying and reasoning for loving to live in a small town is, “It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a big fish in a big pond.”
And while I see the attractions of the beautiful scenery and being a big fish (read: active and influential community member), it’s the small pond that makes me nervous and claustrophobic. Turns out, I miss people more than I miss seasons and that old saying about how “you can take a girl out of a small town but you can’t take the small town out of the girl” just isn’t true. I’m a city gal and there really isn’t a bit of small-town left in me — save maybe for my love of big dogs and small children.
Now I know why I wanted to move back to the Durango area, and it wasn’t for the four seasons or the quaintness of a small town. I moved back in an attempt to find what all of us 20-to-30-somethings must yearn for every now and then; I came back to find the comfort of home. A warm place where my mom hung out in the kitchen and on the back porch overlooking a peaceful field full of elk and coyotes and my dad lounged in the living room switching back and forth between X Files and the news.
That picture still exists, but I no longer fit in it. I’m a grown woman now. I have the start of my own family now. And if Jeff and I do decide to have kids (another reason I thought I wanted to move back to a small town), the picture we paint will be a lot different, but hopefully it will be just as warm and happy as the one my parents provided for me. The backdrop will just be a little different. There’ll be freeways and cars instead of fields and wild animals.
So, after lots of late-night chats about our future, a few months ago, Jeff and I resolved to move back to a place with a population of more than a few thousand. I started looking for jobs in cities across the nation, but when I got a late-night text gauging my interest in my old job at CityBeat, my excitement really couldn’t be contained. The thought that I’d made a huge mistake by quitting my dream job at CityBeat and moving to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere looking for something that doesn’t exist anymore has haunted me since the moment I sat down in my editor’s office to give him the news.
It’s not often that one gets to go back to a life left behind. I’m excited, a little nervous and, most of all, relieved that I get another chance to make San Diego work. I’m using a lot of stupid quotes in this here blog post, so why not end with one more? If home is where the heart is, then my little heart is shaped somewhat like Shamu.
San Diego, here we come.