In Search of Stability
In last week’s post, I wrote about the end of my summer in Italy and how I’ve slowly come to admit to myself that I am unable to explore, learn languages, socialize, and work on serious projects all at the same time. The past 15 months or so have largely been an experiment in this, and the results have come in: Nope, can’t do it all. At least not in the nomadic mode in which I had been living.
The main issue was with that last category, the serious projects. I had moments in the last year where I actually was able to sit down and get real web development work done, but really only when I had consciously and deliberately put the other three on ice. Sometimes literally.
And while searching for what my next act was going to be, I started noticing something about my desires. Any time that I would visit a friend or stay in somebody’s house, I found myself snooping around and staring enviously at whatever kind of workstation they had erected for themselves. My pupils would dilate and my jaw would go a little slack any time I saw a tasteful double monitor setup, a smooth mousepad, an ergonomic office chair, or — the paragon of a stable work-life — a desktop computer. I would completely lose the thread of whatever conversation might be happening around me as I lapsed into daydreams of what it might be like to have this kind of magical unchanging desk, where everything that you were doing the previous day was still there when you returned the next morning.
It became clear to me that after more than a year of focusing primarily on travel, adventure, new skills, languages, and people, that it was time for me to shift that focus to the other side of things. It was time to put my foot down, unpack my suitcase, and try staying in one place long enough to give myself some of that stability that I had been craving, and to give myself an opportunity to develop some healthy routines, especially surrounding the work that I would like to get done.
Moving to Boulder
After deciding that I needed to settle-in somewhere for a while, the question became: where? I didn’t want to deal with any more visa troubles, so Europe was out of the question. And while I have many friends living in New York City or Washington, DC, I felt that if my stated goal was to focus more on my work, I shouldn’t go to some of the most socially stimulating locations on the planet. I wanted to go somewhere on the smaller side, with great access to nature, but still with something of a cosmopolitan feeling. As I was pondering this back in April, Brenton, my good friend from university, called me and told me that he and his current roommate in Boulder, CO, were coming to the end of their current lease and looking for a new apartment. Not being one to shy away from allowing the universe to usher me around somewhat arbitrarily, I suggested that we look for a three-bedroom.
And so after returning from Italy and picking up my car in New York City at the end of July, I packed my smattering of belongings into the back of the Honda Fit and drove the 1,800 miles to Boulder, stopping to see friends and family in Ohio, Illinois, and Nebraska along the way. I arrived in Boulder last night, and was received in grand style. Not two hours after arriving, I was already cycling along a creek in a small peloton of Boulderites on our way to a brewery to celebrate "National IPA Day." Later this morning, after I finish writing this blog post, I’m going with Abby (my new roommate) to pick up the keys to our new apartment, and then it'll all really start.
For those who don’t know, Boulder is a small city with a major university just a few miles north of Denver. It’s tucked riiiiiiight up against the front range of the Rocky Mountains meaning that I’ll be able to walk to some hiking trails right from the front door of my apartment. It’s sunny a vast majority of the year and has great access to skiing mountains in the winter.
Sitting here on the front porch of the house I stayed in last night (generous friends of Brenton and Abby), I’m having a hard time believing that I live here now. It’s going to be a major change in my pace and structure of life, one that I am simultaneously excited about and afraid of. I signed a one-year lease! What am I going to do a month or two from now when the novelty of the situation has worn off and my internal rhythm is telling me that it’s time to pack my bags and move on to the next? How am I going to feel when I get invited on the next sailing trip and have to decline because I have other obligations? Am I going to find anyone here to speak Italian with?
I guess we shall see!