Last week, I flew to San Diego for my little brother’s wedding. I lived in San Diego several years ago, but have not been back since I moved away. I wasn’t sure how it would feel to be back. I arrived late at night, but even in the darkness the familiarity came back. And so did all of the reasons why I left. But as I drove the half-hour up I-5 to La Jolla to meet my family, I began to feel grateful for the memories of all of my dislikes of San Diego, because they reminded me of all of the “likes” I now have for where I live now.
Living in places like San Diego, places that weren’t quite the right fit for me, has helped me to refine my taste and figure out what is the right fit. If I had never lived in small-town Iowa, I never would have known how much I enjoy being in a larger city. If I had never lived in upstate New York, I never would have known how much I love living in a college town. If I had never moved to Seattle, I wouldn’t have known how important it is for me to live where I rarely have to get on the freeway during rush hour. And if I had never lived in San Diego, I would not have realized how much I appreciate being able to go to the grocery store in my lounge clothes without ever having anyone give me a second look.
I’ve only lived in Austin, Texas for one month, but when I got on the plane to head back to Texas, I knew that I was going home.