Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010: A Fresh Start and the Beginning of the End

I made the decision last year that this year I will be leaving my home of Columbus, Ohio. Ask anyone, especially Kyle Kline, that I have made this decision every year for approximately 7 or 8 of the last 9 years I have lived here. The reason was always wrong, and the timing was never right, but I have done everything that I set out to do when I moved here in 2000: I graduated college, I marched in a world class color guard, I made amazing friends, began a career, bought a home, and so far, 3 cars. The American Dream, eh? The place was always supposed to be Chicago, and hell, I'm there every chance I get, and I have an amazing family in Mikey, Brandon and Jeff, Nathan, even Zach and Kyle from my Cavaliers days... but something tells me that it should remain the place that I love to visit, just for a little while longer.

So, what can possibly be better than Chicago as a new place to call home, when you're me and looking for something bigger and better? LA and NYC, of course. I am not an LA boy - no matter that I would have good friends in Tony and Bryan for sure, and nearby old friends like Tyler and Fernando. No, I hear the call of the big city, and with it all the crazy things that I have to plan on to get there. I've told a few of you, not that I need any encouragement, but this last trip I took was an incredible eye-opener. Aside from the great time with great friends like Aaron and Tom, new friends like Chris and Lee and AJ and Corey and Adam, my favorite part of the trip was the 30 blocks I walked alone with my earbuds in on a Sunday evening. Sure it was a holiday weekend and sure, it's New York so there's going to be so many thousands of people everywhere - but damn, it was exhilarating, powerful, and a great reminder of the work I have to do to get to where I want to go.

My 10 year anniversary of being an Ohioan will be in September, and if all goes according to plan (which so rarely happens in my life) I will be sending everyone a "change of address" text with a New York City joke of some sort. I feel like I should be more sad to leave, but I think the reason I am not is because of the incredible network of friendships that I have built while I have been based in Columbus. Most incredible of all being that so few of those major friendships are in Columbus at all: Dallas holds Robby, Jeff, Hugh, Kellen, and Justin Carrier - who came into my life purely because he thought I was cute and is a touchstone of my existence. Don and Eric and Judi B and Tracy who I have traveled with following music, laughs, and will continue to do so, even if I won't be taking Southwest with them. I have made friends, true friends, all over the country and through different channels and can't wait to see what the future, 2010 and beyond holds for us.

One thing I know, is that this will be my last year in Columbus, Ohio. I'll miss the bar, which has been so central to my life here. I'll miss my friends, and I'll miss my jobs, which, though mostly through my own talent and drive, I have been fortunate to get through connections, friends, associates, and even the occasional drag queen. I hope that in the city of 8 million people I find an Alexa, who shares my brain and makes every day at my job more bearable, or less awful, and I hope I find someone who recognizes that I am the most hard-working person they will ever hire, as I have been so fortunate to find here. I'll miss knowing everyone, and I'll miss being known. I will also cherish having some anonymity and will thoroughly appreciate the difficulties I will endure in creating a family like I have made for myself here. Steven, Josh... irreplaceable. The thing is, that I know all of you know, that it's time for me to go - there isn't anything else I want here in Columbus, except the one thing that continues to elude me, so I may as well go looking for all those OTHER things all over again, while experiencing the center of the universe. There's a New York Magazine-style approval matrix in here somewhere, right Ryan?

Over the next few months, as I work my ass off to make this new dream come true, I want to do a little bit of writing and make sure that I don't forget anything - things are going to be so different after I leave, I know there's going to be a million things that I will want to remember and hold on to from here. I want to make sure that I am not leaving behind a life, rather taking that life with me toward my new one - with new hopes and dreams and adventures.

And that you'll be there with me.

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