Can I start over in my own town?
August 23, 2012 6:00 PM Subscribe
New leaf, same old city? Seeking advice—both practical and symbolic—on attempting a "fresh start" in a city I've lived in for 10 years.
posted by anonymous to human relations (9 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 29. I've spent the last ten years flailing around, hopelessly and embarrassingly, in a deep, confusing quarter-life crisis. Basically FREAKING THE EFF OUT over what to do with my life. I've started jobs and abandoned them weeks later. Gone back to school (for a degree in French!) and dropped out after a semester. Tried my hand at freelance writing only to burn out after a few years. Moved away for a grand adventure only to slink back after three months with my tail between my legs. Proclaimed my love for a girl only to change my mind a year into it.
Basically, I've been a flake. And I'm pretty self-conscious about it.
The good news is that I'm getting my shit together. In two weeks, I start a professional masters program that will set me on a very promising, purposeful path. It's a transition I've spent three years mapping out, and I'm thrilled to finally pull the trigger.
The bad news, though, is that, thanks to cheap in-state tuition, I'll be doing it in the same city where all of these misfires took place—a town full of spurned employers, ex-lovers, frenemies, and many, many other people privy to my small failures and humiliations. And as proud as I am to grow up, to turn over a new leaf, I'd be much more confident with this transition if I were truly starting over in a different city. The place I'm living in reminds me too much of my past failures, and I worry that the social circles and creative scene I've been kicking around in might hamper my evolution as an adult.
So, Mefites, anyone have experience with manufacturing that "fresh start" feeling? Should I change my look, switch from contacts to glasses or maybe grow a beard? Swear off my old haunts for awhile, take a break from the rock shows and art openings? Perhaps I just need to remind myself of all of the simple perks of NOT moving (no need to find a new hairstylist!). Or just delete all the never-dialed contacts in my phone.
I'd love to hear from people who managed to change their lives without changing their addresses. People whose circumstances forced them to navigate their social situation in a new way. Maybe you successfully regrouped after a messy breakup. Maybe you went sober. Maybe you changed careers and adopted a whole new identity.
The city I live in, by the way, is an arty, progressive town of about the same size and cultural cachet of Portland (but it isn't Portland). Translation: Big enough to have a robust creative community, small enough to constantly run into all the same people in that creative community.
Oh, and this is all anonymous because, well, I feel I could use all the anonymity I can get.