love new york. i love it desperately, and will defend my choice to live here to anyone on any day. i’ve been living here for almost eight years and, until a week ago, i couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else.

then i went to california. 

now, keep in mind that i grew up in seattle. california isn’t foreign to me and i’ve spent quite a bit of time there, but after each visit, i’d find myself doing the inevitable post-vacation shuffle: “yeah, i liked it but i could never see myself living there." i would come back to my bubble in new york, plant my feet firmly on the concrete and remind myself of all the reasons why i love this city, which i do. desperately.

this time, however, was different. i spent time in parts of california that i had never explored. i took big deep breaths and drove around with the windows down. i watched as the sun browned my shoulders and freckled my face. i felt all the tension in my body relax as i ate well, drank plenty, and surrounded myself with amazing humans. for the first time in my life, i wanted to stay put, wanted to swap concrete for sand, fifth avenue for sunscreen and bonfires, and taxis for a bicycle. i’d put a basket on said bicycle and ride it to the farmer’s market where i’d fill it up with flowers, bring it home to R where he’d be making something fresh and delicious for dinner. 

this fantasy is sparkly. it smells like salt and sand and is forever accompanied by a backdrop of swaying palm trees and deep blue sea. if you know me well, you know that these things used to be terrifying to me, always triggering memories of a harrowing past tragedy. the fact that i’ve been running around new york all day today dreaming of feeling the sand between my toes is so reassuring, so comforting, and it makes me grateful and proud of how much i’ve grown.

i’m getting better. my body and my brain are talking to each other again, keeping up a constant line of communication that lets me explore without fear, but also keeps me safe. my heart is happy and full. i’m in love like i’ve never been before, a love that’s bigger and more beautiful than i ever thought possible. the future is no longer out of my reach, but is rather just around the corner. for the first time in a long time, i’m looking forward to my tomorrows. i wake up hopeful, my big dreams firmly intact.