What is Next?
To my friends and kindred spirits, and to the transient souls around the world who found their way to Without Roots and decided to follow along as I stumble my way through this beautiful mess we call life. I must be honest with you, because I am feeling more lost than ever and I'm not sure how to proceed. A year ago, I was just beginning my new life in Portland and trying to figure out how to exist here. I'd yet to discover the coziest coffee shop or my favorite pizza place. I hadn't plucked up the courage to venture out on my own and explore my new home. I was just another starry-eyed transplant, eager to make her home in a brand new city.
This past year has been filled with love, loss, growth, and adventure. I have become the woman I was meant to grow into and I am so proud of how far I've come since I chose to leave my hometown. Yet, I find myself wondering if Portland is where I want to be anymore. Don't get me wrong; I love it here. I absolutely adore this city and am incredibly grateful for each and every person I've met and everything I've been able to experience during my time here. I have managed to create a life that is comfortable and familiar. I have my routine and at last, I feel at home in this city. But therein lies the dilemma: it has become comfortable. And as every wise person will tell you, life is much more fulfilling when you step beyond your comfort zone.
I've been thinking about leaving the city for over a month now. I've begun to realize that without further education or sacrificing my vague financial stability, I'm pretty much stuck in the service industry. It's the only job I'm truly qualified for that provides the sort of income I need to be able to pay my bills and save for the occasional emergency. I don't have a viable path of forward motion from where I am now, and it's starting to really bother me. Simply floating along was perfectly reasonable when I was finding my footing post-grad and trying to build my confidence as a woman in the world. Now, I'm ready to start building something, and I'm not so sure that I can do that in Portland.
This feeling of uncertainty has happened before, and a trip to my hometown cured me of my desire to leave Portland. So, when I unexpectedly needed to return to New York to attend my grandfather's funeral, I hoped that once again, being there would change my mind. It didn't. Instead, I became incredibly aware of how much I've missed my family and lifelong friends. I am completely rootless out here, which is rather fitting for a person who maintains a blog with the title, Without Roots. While the adventure has been a wonderful catalyst for growth, I feel unfulfilled without the time nor energy to be creative on a regular basis. With my job and financial responsibilities, I am restricted in what I'm able to do with my free time. I must change something.
I'm beginning to feel like I did when I first decided to leave my hometown and pursue a life in this city – uncomfortable and confused and unsure. This is what it feels like right before you take the leap and abandon your comfort zone. And maybe that's how I know that I'm taking myself and my life in the right direction. The people I've talked to about this have told me that my mind appears to have been made up. After expressing my uncertainty, my roommate said to me, "Are any of us really sure about anything?" Probably not. I'm still not entirely sure where my life will take me next, but I know that if I don't take the leap and attempt to create the life I want, I will remain unfulfilled and grow resentful of my own choices.
So, what do I do now that I'm unable to shake the feeling that everything is about to change? I live out this chapter of my life as fully as possible. I adventure freely, I love loudly, and refuse to take a second of my time in this city for granted.