by Laura Anne Gilman
I am – as anyone who knows me well will confirm – a New Yorker. In the good ways and probably most of the bad as well. I’ve lived in the city for the past eight years, and worked there for sixteen previous, grew up with it as an everpresent beacon at my shoulder as a teenager in New Jersey. It is the city of my soul, the place where I come alive.
But a year or so ago, I started playing with the idea of taking a leave of absence from NYC, and this autumn, I decided to do it, subletting my apartment and finding an affordable place in Seattle for me and my two feline roommates.
As you read this, I’ll be on a plane, west-bound.
Why leave NYC? Sometimes you need to leave a place to come back and love it again. Sometimes, you need to shake the ground you’re on, to find out how steady your life is. Change is healthy, when you choose it, on your own terms. All those reasons, and more. I’m not running away from anything; I’m not running toward something. I’m changing my view.
Why Seattle? Because I’m a city girl – I lived in the suburbs for half my life and it nearly broke me, and a more rural town isn’t for me just yet (if ever) – and the idea of moving to the Pacific coast after a lifetime on the Eastern seaboard seemed like just enough of a shake-up. Experience has taught me that California and I are better as casual friends than roommates, while Oregon, though beautiful, never grabbed at me the way Washington State did. Also, I have a handful of friends already there, to ease the transition without making it too easy.
So I’m giving myself a year, to shake up my life and see what settles anew out of it (and what follows me, refusing to be left behind). Come back next month, and see what I’ve found…