Major Milestones

I read in an article recently that humans are much more likely to undergo big, life-altering feats in the year before they reach certain age milestones. 29, 39, 49, 59. They’ll run marathons, change jobs, move across the country, start businesses, and take on other bucket list type adventures. For me, this year was true to the theory. I left a job, accepted a new one, traveled to Asia, self-published a book, made a big move, and, as of yesterday, visited IKEA for the first time.

I didn’t need much, just a set of drawers for my closet and a small trash can for under my desk. My sister asked why I didn’t just go to Bed Bath & Beyond or Homegoods--some of our usual home furnishing haunts. “No, no,” I said, “I want to have the IKEA experience.”

I knew enough to avoid weekend crowds by going in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. I even found ground level parking right outside the store. My tummy was rumbling since I’d come from the gym, so I stopped in the restaurant first. In my imaginings, based on what I’d heard from friends, there would be platters of complimentary Swedish meatballs along every aisle and a fountain of all-you-can-eat frozen yogurt waiting at the end of the maze. I didn’t see any of that yet, but was impressed by the food court offerings. 4 meatballs for $1 and veggie options as well. I filled my belly and began the trek.

I should say that modern European design is not really my taste, so I’m not sure what I was hoping to find there. I’m more of a cozy wooded cabin or, in some cases, beachy bohemian kind of gal. White walls, light colored wood, and all those sharp edges just seem sterile to me. I perused the showrooms. There was so much to see, but none of it that I wanted. Closet organization systems, plastic plants, and squares upon squares. I walked past a model micro-apartment, which apparently singles in cities are flocking to these days. I imagined living there, dying there, and felt sad.

“Grab a cart! You’re about to have your hands full!” The end-cap signs warned. Full of 69 cent plastic wastebaskets, glass cacti, and various lamp shades that somehow all managed to look the same. I twisted and turned, exhausting my feet and eventually settling on some new towels that I kind of needed so no one would question me at the register.

The warehouse at the end seemed convenient and slightly robotic. So many boxes in so many rows. I remembered reading an online forum post once about what it was like to live in Stockholm. The author said that although almost everyone was polite and open-minded, if you had moved from another place and, for example, tried to host a taco dinner on a Tuesday, no one would show up, explaining, “Oh no, not on a Tuesday. Everyone knows Tuesday is pizza night here.”

On Leaving

I have some explaining to do! My stuff and I have left Austin for the foreseeable future. It was a fast moving move, but one that I'd been anticipating before I landed back in the U.S. I have dreamed of living in California for a long time, and now here I am in California living. I have a job which I will tell you about soon because it deserves a post of its own. I moved into a house that is a testament to putting full faith in Craigslist findings. I had only seen it and met the roommates via FaceTime before driving out here, but so far everything seems to be surpassing my expectations. The two roommates are kind and inspiring, they have a cat and a dog, and there is a lemon tree outside my window. I am here. 

When I told friends and strangers I was moving to Los Angeles, almost everyone had an opinion. Some gave words of warning and others offered encouragement. There would be traffic and crowds and money needed to buy things. But there would be art and talent and vibrancy as well. I was (am) looking for change and growth. Austin had become so familiar to me that I started to take it for granted. The longer I stayed, the more time and money I spent going on adventures elsewhere. I was running out of activities and places to tick off the checklist and, while I'm trying to cut back on my constant seeking of novelty, I felt the need for something bigger and new.

I didn't want to have a going away party from Austin, since it seems like I'm always going away from someplace or another. And I'm one of the ones who comes back to visit as much as I can. Plus there's always the frightful chance of everything completely falling apart and the possibility having to return a few months later. "You can't Irish exit a city," my roommate told me, and I'm glad I listened. Having all my friends together in one place with too many beers made my heart happy.

Thank you for being such a big part of me for the past 5 years. <3