Upon Leaving a City and Community You Love

If you were to ask my husband or family, they would tell you that I have a flair for the dramatics.  Life is too beautiful, too painful, too much for me at times.  And, while I love that I can appreciate the moments in life so deeply, I also kind of hate it.  The confusing part is that even though I feel I am in touch with how I feel about change, I don't allow myself to express it.  Instead, I get nauseous, lose sleep, take multiple naps in a day, and watch a lot of Netflix.  At least I can now acknowledge my coping skills, right?

In 16 days, my new hubby and I will pack up our Pittsburgh apartment and move to NC so that H can attend acupuncture school.  When I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2010, I really thought I had landed in the city where I would always live.  But, life had other plans when I met and fell in love with H.  The South is now calling my name, ever reluctanctly and quietly.

We have known for a year that we would be moving to NC this summer and that has been both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because it has allowed me to soak in and squeeze the people and city I love so much.  I take time to reflect on the city skyline during my morning commute, I am more present when slinging back a beer with good friends, and I am more aware of our friends' smiles and laughs.  I am continually reminding myself to "remember this moment" and to not take it for granted.  The downfall of knowing that you will eventually leave the city you love is that you know that you will be leaving.  There is no getting around it.  The date has been determined and a new apartment has been found.  Time, it seems, doesn't care that you want the days to slow down.

To help myself cope, I created a mini-guideline for moving out of Pittsburgh.  Here it goes...

Upon Leaving a City and Community You Love...

1) Spend as much time with friends and loved ones as possible.  And, when it's time to go home, go in for that extra hug.

2) Forget about the places you wish you had visited while living in the city.  Try to go to the places you love as often as possible.  In translation: Spend as much time at your favorite divey bar with great friends as you can.

3) Let yourself cry, especially when you're by yourself, sitting on the couch with 2 elderly cats, and watching reruns of Parks and Rec.  Go for it, you'll feel better.

4) Tell your community of friends and loved ones how much you'll miss them and write them sappy notes that explain why they mean so much to you.

5) Laugh as much as possible.

6) Ignore the fact that for the past 2 weeks you've been living amongst boxes and unorganized chaos.  The boxes will be there for you to pack when you get home or wake up from a much needed nap.  Somehow, no matter what, everything will make it to your new home.

7) Plan your wedding a month before your big move.  This may only apply to a few people but I am so glad we got married right before our move.  It made being surrounded by our closest friends and family that more special.  We still look at each other and can't believe how wonderful the night was.  We know some really awesome people, from all over the country, with huge hearts.

8) Remind yourself that you've done this before.  You've left a city of friends that you love and you are STILL friends with those amazing people.  Distance does make it difficult to hang out but you can always remain connected.

9) Remind yourself that this is life.  Life is built on change and adventure.  I'm a conflicted person that loves stability but gets bored easily.  If I didn't leave Pittsburgh, who knows if I would really dig into why I love this town so dang much.  Leaving forces you to look back on your experiences, the good and the really scary, and recognize that you are still standing here.  You're stronger than you think.

10) Take it all in.  The impromptu crying, the awe of the view out your bedroom window, the crazy Polish neighbor that looks into your kitchen from his window and waves, the cranky employee at the local bagel shop that is only nice to your husband. Take in all of the quirks, annoyances and beauty of the city and promise to remember it but also let it go.  There is a town of homemade biscuits, mountains, local pubs, bookstores and poems out there for you to conquer. 

11) Take a deep breath and jump in to your life as it is right now.  It's worth it!


Lisa Fuqua said…
This is so perfect for me right now, since I just left Pittsburgh. I love it here in Las Vegas, but for the first time I do miss Pittsburgh a little. Pittsburgh wasn't my home town but it grew on me. Best of luck Stephanie, but I know you'll be happy where ever you are I'm sure.
Stefanie said…
Thanks so much, Lisa! I wish you the best of luck in Vegas too. I'm glad our paths crossed in PGH.
Stefanie said…
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