"It just sort of happens one day, one day and it's just gone. And you can never get it back. It's like you get homesick for a place that doesn't exist. I don't know maybe it's like this right of passage, you know." - one of my all-time favorite movie quotes from Garden State. Still so true.
Something strange happened on this trip to San Diego for me.
Usually I run back to the chaotic beaches of San Diego with joy and ecstasy in my heart, as if I’m running into the embrace of a lover. This time though, something felt tangibly off in our chemistry. The hip fashion boutiques and trendy cafes I used to love visiting struck me as superficial and annoying. I noticed the mind-numbing, wheel-spinning rush of human patterning: get up, work work work, exercise, go out, socialize, sleep, repeat. It struck me as wrong in a way it never had before. I guess that makes sense. I was 25, a bartender, and an overindulgent pleasure seeker when I moved to San Diego. Now I'm 32, sober, and a yoga teacher. I was looking back at my old self from afar and suddenly I didn’t recognize her.
That’s not how I live anymore. That’s not where I live anymore.
It’s not my home.
Am I not a cool city person anymore? Did I just suddenly get old? Did I just evolve? Where is home, if it’s not the quirky, scenic, one-of-a-kind, Ocean Beach San Diego?
Feeling estranged by San Diego, the city I’ve claimed as mine for seven years now, feels a bit like being a little boat suddenly cut off from my anchor line, adrift and unsure of what direction the tide will take me.
I went there this weekend to run a race I couldn’t run due to injury, and the whole two days I couldn't shake feeling somewhat unsettled both in my gut and brain. Pushed away from that old feeling of home I expected to find. An injured hip flexor forced me to slow down and notice things. That noticing suddenly exposed the tatters in my sense of belonging. Everything came together to reveal to me something painful I needed to know. San Diego broke my heart by not satisfying me anymore.
Sitting and watching the 20-something hipsters walk through North Park with the trendiest clothes and sunglasses. Witnessing the bartenders and servers at the hipster beer bars and restaurants busting ass to bring me artisanal pizza and make enough cash for their rent and fun.
That’s not me anymore. That was my 25-year-old dream and I loved it and I lived it for 5 years and it was great until it wasn't. I didn't want to change, but I had to. I held that life loosely like a china bowl in my hand until I inevitably dropped it and it fell to the ground to shatter, ruined. It got glued back together but all I can see are the cracks. I also see the ocean and the happiness and feel the gratitude for what that life and that place did for me, but can't ignore the knowing inside: That’s not my city anymore.
I crave something different. A place where we can slow down, stop running in hamster wheels, drive less, get real, relate, shop less, primp less, never wear makeup, create more.
There could be a new city waiting for me, or a town, or mountain, or commune, or a far-off country, or a boat for all I know. I don’t know if I’m meant to feel the way I felt about San Diego for another place. I loved it in a way I’ve never loved any other ‘home” since childhood. I had to leave to evolve and suddenly I've evolved past it and who know’s what’s next?
My astrologist told me in my recent birth chart reading that I have the ability to create home wherever I go. Guess it’s time to see if she’s right.