I could blame it on the alcohol.
I could blame it on the smoke that has clouded the Californian skies for the past few days now as the state burns itself north to south.
I could blame it on having four hours of sleep and spending the entire day packing up this chapter of my life.
I could also blame it on the gallons of tears that managed to pour out of my eyes despite being severely dehydrated.
Or it could be a combo of all four.
Regardless, my subsequent tired eyes can only be blamed on one factor: yesterday was a rough day.
It has been exactly 241 days since I moved from small town Soldotna to the big commuter city of Walnut Creek. And on the 242nd day, I moved out.
It feels like I just got here, but at the same time, it feels like I’ve been here a lifetime already.
Making the decision to move was easy. Since moving to California to “pursue my dreams”, I have been on a rocky rollercoaster.
Imagine flying down the 101 in a bus and trying to commute into the right lane going into San Francisco while you’re in the far left.
That has been similar to my experience.
Ever since I moved here, from the day my car was broken into to the day I sat across from a boy who told me I wasn’t important enough to break up with, I’ve been riding that struggle bus on the 101 freeway.
In an effort to search for myself and in an attempt to pursue what brought me out here in the first place (my magazine), I instead found myself on an entirely different path.
Life kinda does that to you.
I had grand plans when I moved down here. I would get a good job in the creative industry, commute to downtown San Francisco, seduce the man I had been flirting with for two years, make friends and meet G-Eazy or Klay Thompson whilst at a bar, get that one connection and get my magazine rolling, and feel like I belonged.
Instead, I landed a job at a coffee shop, worked part time at my favorite vintage store, cried myself into a tizzy whenever I commuted to the city on BART, went through multiple men that sunk me further into the idea that I should trust my lonely, ran into Warriors coach Steve Kerr at SFO, and made myself some pretty memorable friends.
Not what I was imagining, but exactly what I needed.
You see, I used to feel embarrassed whenever I had to explain to people why I was moving.
The responses like: helping my family open a business, pursuing my magazine, going back to the place that makes me the most happy, being reunited with my cat, all sounded like silly excuses in my head. Though I knew it was the right decision for me, I also felt like I was giving up on myself, being a coward for returning home, and that I was calling it quits because it was hard and not what I thought it would be.
You know what though? It remains the right decision.
Walnut Creek had no hold on me. Though I made good friends and was comfortable in my routine, I also had nothing holding me there. No attachment to the area, no significant other, no life changing job, and I wasted a lot of money and a lot of tears on how I felt each and every night I cried myself to sleep.
Alaska was the opportunity I ignored when I lived there. Instead of seeing all it could offer me, I looked elsewhere for inspiration and subsequently realized my error.
But I had to leave Alaska to figure that out. The thing about life is that you experience things to better fine tune what works for you and what doesn’t. Living in a place like Walnut Creek made me realize I didn’t want to live in a place like Walnut Creek and because I had no ties, it opened my eyes to looking back to the home that shaped me: Alaska.
The hardest part for me yesterday was looking at my empty room. Through the window, I looked at the big tree outside I had stared at when I first moved in and was sleeping on the floor and remembered the feeling of curious optimism I had 241 days ago. I had so many things I wanted to accomplish and I felt like I left too soon to experience some of them.
But then I remembered all the things I did accomplish, learn, and experience during my chapter here. The friends I made, the adventures I had, the drinks I consumed over laughter, the many days I cried, but also the many days I was high on life and it changed how I left when I shut the door to my room.
I’ll always remember my chapter here, no matter how brief it may have been.
I made the correct decision, figuratively and literally when I finally made it to the right lane headed not to San Francisco, but to home.