Today’s my last day living in Portland. My girlfriend and I push off tomorrow around 6 a.m.
A friend recently asked, “When you leave Portland, will you wave goodbye or give it the middle finger?”
Good thing I’ve got two hands.
Around spring last year, I began to romanticize Portland as place where I might be inspired. It seemed like a good thing to say about moving to a new place. We all want inspiration, I suppose. My mistake was assuming it came from a place.
I left home.
“Home” was a rather vague notion until around January, when my girlfriend and I returned to Portland after spending the holidays with friends and family. I remember feeling this intense emptiness when we made it back to our apartment. It was pretty obvious at that point we needed to leave Portland.
I’ve never lived in Minneapolis. I’ve been there several dozen times. I remember being a kid and going to Twins games with my family. I would spend the night before fighting off sleep by thinking about the tall buildings, the chance of seeing a Twin or Viking on the street, the rush of a big city. Since then, I’ve been to nearly every major city in the country, even took the time to live in one, and when that emptiness hit in January, it seemed Minneapolis was the most logical place for us to go. A place we could make our home.
Minneapolis puts us within a four-hour drive of the homes Beth and I grew up in. It puts us within a hour-and-a-half of our college town, where we first met and started dating. Most of our friends live in South Dakota and Minnesota. As places go, that’s all we could ask for.
I don’t expect Minneapolis to inspire me. In the past 11 months, I learned places can’t inspire me like people do.
I know myself well enough to know I won’t be emotional today during my last day of work or tomorrow, when we hit I-84 East. I don’t respond to these things emotionally. A little while back, my company gave us a personality test. I learned I was a “green” – someone who’s analytical above all else. I imagine I’ll spend more time the next few days thinking about what the past 11 months meant. Do they deserve a middle finger or a wave goodbye?
We’re moving to a great place nearby great friends in a great city and I’ve got a great internship waiting for me on the other hand. Minneapolis couldn’t be more inviting. Portland was accomodating, but I never took my shoes off and allowed myself to get comfortable. That’s my fault. But you know what? It’s the best mistake I’ve ever made.
At least now I know what home is.