I’m hurtling toward senior year at breakneck speed and nobody can stop me. Time doesn’t slow down for anyone, and of late I feel like I’ve had to run to keep up with it.
Next year at this time, I will be planning on moving somewhere I don’t know yet, a place that I can’t even fathom except for the fact that it won’t be here. It’s going to be weird living on my own, perhaps in a new state, maybe one which I haven’t even visited before.
California’s a beautiful state. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the greatest things I’ve seen in my life (the Brooklyn Bridge ain’t got nothin’ on us), but the redwood forests are even more epic. We have sun-baked beaches and the suburban city lifestyle down in L.A., and we have rolling hills of fog and the semi-New-York-esque city up in San Francisco. We even have cold beaches, if that’s more of your thing. We have both some of the best skiing and some of the best suntanning in the U.S.
It’s sad to think that I may only live here for another year. I don’t know where I’m going to go to college, and it’s true that I may well end up staying in California (we have a wonderful UC system and many more private colleges), but if I end up going out of state, I really don’t know if I’ll ever be coming back. We can plan all we want, of course, but in the end, we won’t really ever know where we’re going to end up until we’re living being there. And even then, we might not know that we’ve gotten to what’s close to the end of the road.
I grew up in one of the most wonderful, quiet suburbs you can imagine. And it’s hard to believe that I will almost certainly never live here as an independent adult. (Although who knows, I may end up hating the rest of the world and returning here to fade into nothingness. Although hopefully that won’t happen.) Unlike C.J. Cregg, fictional White House press secretary in The West Wing, most of us have already lived part of the first lines of our obituaries by the time we are eighteen. “So-and-so so-and-so, loving blah blah, born and raised in This Town, This State…” Right here and right now will always be a part of my identity. It will forever be the answer to the question, “Oh, so where are you from?” But it is still terrifying (1) not knowing where I’ll be living in September of 2017 and (2) not knowing if I’ll ever call California home again after next year. So I hope you’ll understand that even though it’s a bit premature for me to be saying my potential future goodbyes now, it’s something I want to make sure I do now, in case it ever crosses my mind to forget.
California, it’s been a privilege growing up with you by my side. I could live here for another year, another five years, or for the rest of my life. Nobody knows and only time will tell. I won’t get to know my future until I’m living it (and I’m going to try to really live it). While in California, I’m going to try to sample everything that makes California home.
featured image source: VAN NESS INN