we realized a few months ago, abruptly and pretty decisively, that it would be a good idea to leave new york city and move to portland (oregon). joe's work situation was horrifically stressful and seemed unlikely to improve; given his status as a tenured civil servant, transitioning to something outside of city work with analogous literal and figurative benefits would be difficult if not impossible; our parents (and sisters' children) are still young and fun and we would like to spend more time with them; the idea of new york money in oregon was inexpressibly sexy. i sat and thought about what our lives would look like if we stayed here for the next decade and felt that i would like to not know what would come next. i have a pretty good idea of what we would be if we persisted here.

i had a dream about psychoanalysis a couple of nights ago, or about the trappings of psychoanalysis. i was reviewing an insurer's bill for a terribly long group session, and it included both copays and little instances of self-awareness: at one point someone demonstrated admirable growth and got a twenty-five-cent credit, at another point someone else broke down and incurred an extra fee. there was an occasional incidental charge for slicing cake? (i don't have a non-dreamland group session, or any sort of session. i gave up on doctor omnibus a year ago when i cried in front of him for the first time—about loneliness over the holidays, in fact!—and he wouldn't look me in the eye.)

we spent a week in portland to see how it would feel, and while most locals were absolutely lovely i cracked a number of times because i missed pigeons (there are pigeons in portland, but it's not the same) and because new york is unquestionably my home. that said, we're going to save, and think, and approach portland again in—a year? joe's work situation has improved but is still dodgy. i still feel that if we don't exercise our DINK privilege and broaden our horizons we deserve to be recycled.

i have spent more than a decade telling myself that i am a better daughter/sister/partner because i am the best version of myself when i live in this city. while i know i wasn't wrong, i don't feel that i'm quite right.


furiousmuse said...

you are inextricably a part of the fabric of new york city and one of the reasons i love visiting it so much. your deep affection for it is visible every time we step out onto grand and weave a path toward one destination or another. (i do not think its streets will feel the same to me when you are no longer in it.)

lauren said...

my summary sounds rather melancholy, but i'm trying to tell myself that we're damn lucky to have put down such deep roots here AND to have the at least theoretical flexibility to go and be with our people. these are good things! i know this! if worse comes to worst, i can bring a suitcase full of local pigeons west, probably.

theRachel said...

Well...what a development! What about bird rescue organizations...did you visit any of those when you went to Portland? Would love to see you come west...maybe then we could meet IRL!

lauren said...

@theRachel there's a local audubon society, but they only work with non-invasive species (so no pigeons, possums, starlings, sparrows, some squirrels...), which makes me sad (though i understand their position). I'm guessing there are some more feral wildlife rehabbers out there who might do other work, but haven't found them yet. i'd love to meet you IRL, too!