Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Seven years in Sacramento


It was seven years ago that I arrived in Roseville, in a U-haul after hurtling down I-5 at breakneck speed, my former boss and college professor (and Air Force pilot) at the wheel, my cat yowling in her carrier, some crackly babble playing on the radio, and the threat of a big storm on the way.

Every year I note the anniversary of my move away from the big city of Seattle, with it's limitless greenery, amazing indie rock shows, scads of super-smart techie people, gorgeous views of Mt. Ranier and awesome beer to the much sleepier Sacramento. This year, however, something feels different. I don't know if I should attribute it to being done with grad school or spending last fall in DC, but I've got serious wanderlust again. It makes no sense on some level, because I am happier in Sacramento than I've been in ages.

A friend queried me regarding the trajectory my life might have taken if I'd spent the last seven years in San Francisco or some other equally large and vibrant urban area (Chicago, LA, Seattle, DC). I think I would have had a different set of friends--namely folks with whom I went to college--but otherwise I'm not certain that my life would be better for it. I don't know if I would have realized my passion for public policy, if I would have had the guts to go to grad school, if I would have applied for my fellowship in DC or even had the wherewithal to start this blog. I think that in a larger city with more friends, I would have been happier with having a basic day job and a robust social life than here, where I constantly fret about my career. That's odd, given that my career opportunities would likely have been better in a larger city. So in some ways, Sacramento has forced me to consider my priorities and to search for an authentic life--mainly due to the lack of social distractions. (Not that I haven't managed to make a mountain out of the molehill's worth of social activities that do present themselves in Sac.)

The fact that Sacramento is of a manageable size has been a good thing for me in the long run. I just wish I could learn to like the summers.

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