Monday, August 29, 2011

Dad was right

You never really know what life is going to throw at you, makes you feel kind of unsettled all the time, and so you're happy when you get to the point in your existence wherein you realize that it's not just you that feels this way, it's everybody, feeling that way about everything. And if you're not feeling that way, maybe you're doing it wrong. Life should be about twists and turns. It's supposed to have something new, something challenging, around every corner. You're supposed to laugh and cry, to feel anger and happiness, love and misery and all the things in between. Only then can you know you're human.
Sometimes I get worried I made the wrong decision coming here. I worry that I am missing too many things in Seattle. I think about friends having babies and getting married and youngins growing up so fast and how far away I am from it all. The other opportunities I gave up to be here. The person I was my last 6 months in the PNW, living on Capitol Hill, learning and blossoming and growing into my own skin. Gardening, knitting, biking. Filling out, in an emotional sense. Connecting. Rejoicing.
And then, I think about the crazy things that have happened to me here, continue to happen to me. Meeting the members of a local indie folk/rock band and playing fiddle with them, on stage, not even a week after starting rehearsals. Dancing in discos, occasionally until the sun comes up, sometimes longer. Hosting Couch Surfers whenever I feel like it, from all over the world, from all walks of life. Meeting members of the Avett Brothers and the Weaker Thans. Getting waxed by a beautician who rips out my leg hair while telling me her stories of the fall of the Berlin Wall and her personal discovery of East Berlin. Talking with a friend whose grandparents have lived in the same flat in Berlin for over 50 years, surviving 4 currency changes, not to mention regime changes, paying the same rent for the apartment from the day they moved in until now. Talking to people who are not unequivocally capitalist, who take a stand for the little guys, who believe there's a better way out there. Doing my job in English but holding staff meetings in German. Drinking a beer in the park, on the street, in the subway. Setting the empty bottle down and turning 30 seconds later to realize it's gone, taken by someone eager for the 8-cent deposit. Hanging out in an English-language bookstore talking to the British owner about her gender surgery and its consequences. Swing dancing in an abandoned swimming pool. Busking in the streets. Twirling under a wide sky in the middle of a defunct runway of an abandoned airport, all alone, singing, dancing, doing handstands.
I can't say that any of it is better than Seattle. But I didn't come here for another Seattle. I came here for Berlin. And I came here so that I can say that I've done it. So that in 10 years, no matter where I am, I can think back on it and say, "oh man, you BET I moved to Berlin on a whim when I was 26!!!"
At some point, it all boils down to a kind of peace. Peace because I know that ultimately, I am where I need to be at this point in my life. My dad will probably enjoy this blog post more than any I've ever written, because it is in this post wherein I reveal that I admit he was right all along, and that's the only thing that any parent wants to hear from their child, right? He was right in telling me to enjoy my youth, to not settle down too early, to take my time and find out who I am and simply celebrate being an unattached adult with very few commitments and responsibilities, and, simply put, to enjoy the heck out of my life, no matter where in the world I am. And I want to thank you, Dad, because I'm finally here. I'm doing it. And I love it.