Home is where the heart is.
— attributed to Pliny the Elder
At one time, when trying to decide which city I should move to in the US, I’d thought of moving to somewhere in New Jersey. The family business is based there and I wanted to run it one day, didn’t I? I would live in some suburb in New Jersey where rent isn’t as high as in, say, NYC or San Francisco, and I would be able to save a lot so I’d be able to travel for maybe a month every year. I’d live in dissatisfaction for 11 months because that 1 month of travel would make it all worth it, wouldn’t it? Everyone would be thrilled with that decision because I’d be doing the sensible thing by picking the business as my career and centering my life around that. I’m not that person.
The life I was setting up for myself was one I would want to escape from for as long as I possibly could. There was something so horribly wrong with that. (What if I were to die before taking that vacation?!) It was such a depressing thought. Instead of counting the seconds until I jump on a flight to seek happiness wouldn’t I rather wake up happy every single day? Was running that business really my life-long dream? Well, maybe it really would come with a side of depression and, as everyone knows, that’s a good breeding ground for great artists, right?
I’m single, have no commitments, nothing to hold me back, no one to tie me down. But I was doing that myself. I prioritized incorrectly and I was so uncomfortable and unhappy even at the thought of it. I realised I’m not one to do life that way.
First things first, I decided. If I do move to the US, I have to pick a city I actually want to live in. It has to be a place I’ll enjoy, a place that gives me arm’s-length access to the arts, to the theatre, to jazz bars, to film festivals, to art galleries, to city-life, to window-shopping upon a whim, to dropping in to familiar cafes, to trying new restaurants, to so much more! A place where I can browse used-book stores for hours and then walk home, entirely satisfied! I don’t want to have to drive a car to get from anywhere to anywhere! I want to be able to walk around in it, to just really enjoy the city, its sights, its sounds, its life!
The city I choose may be miles and miles away from my initial decision, but, once that’s decided, the rest will just have to follow. Yes, I probably won’t be able to run that business one day but that isn’t as important as my happiness so it doesn’t worry me. It will be my brother’s legacy and that’ll be his choice and I’ll be happy for him. From what I know of life, it should always be centered around happiness. Little else is worth it. Right? Right.