I’ve had Boston on the brain lately. More so than usual, even. That won’t surprise many of you who know me, least of all my Connecticut friends who have to listen to me lament on a daily basis about missing the city I’ve loved since I was a child. It’s true – I’ve missed my proximity to Boston since moving to Connecticut seven (long) years ago. Prior to that, the furthest I lived was an hour away, but it was always an easy drive.
But then I needed a change. A big one, I felt. And I was adamant about that change being in a completely different state, while still acknowledging my loyalty to New England. Besides, I reasoned, I was barely two hours from Boston. How different could it be?
Lesson learned. While the draw of Connecticut could arguably be its proximity to both New York and Boston, the atmosphere couldn’t be any more different than what I was used to. Bostonians are gritty, quirky, confident, bold, fearless, creative, strong. Fierce. They live life out loud and they don’t apologize for it. They are loyal. And, contrary to what some believe, they are welcoming, generous, helpful.
I didn’t find much of that in my new community, to my dismay. There are exceptions, as there are always. I’ve met some wonderful people here that made my journey worth every minute. But overall, I don’t fit in here. It’s not my community. I’ve missed Boston’s artsy, creative atmosphere, my writer friends. I miss the city. The subway. Mike’s Pastry. Walking everywhere.
Since the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent events, the longing to be back has been stronger and more urgent. Beginning with that first, horrible news alert I couldn’t shake the feeling of having to be there, just to feel the city under my feet, tell the trees and buildings and people everything would be okay, but most of all to reassure myself that I was returning. That I understood where I belonged.
Those events woke something in my soul. They say tragedies happen so people can figure out what really matters in life. I won’t say I was coasting along on autopilot, but I did find that my modus operandi for the past few years was to make empty promises about coming back, and when. Not for lack of wanting, but I just wasn’t putting the right things in motion. I would complain to my Sisters in Crime New England friends every year at Crime Bake about not having moved yet. When they asked when I was returning, I would say, “Oh, in a year or so,” and explain why my job/finances/insert-excuse-here was preventing it.
No more. It’s time. I used to think where you lived was just a detail. An address, or a zip code. I understood that where you came from said something about who you were, but I didn’t fully grasp how much a part of you a place can be. I heard one of my favorite authors, Dennis Lehane (Boston to the core), talk recently. He mentioned trying to explain to his wife why he loved it so much, and not finding the words to do it justice. I think it’s because it can’t really BE explained. It has to be in you. Part of your DNA. A soul connection.
I believe things happen for a reason, and that wherever you are at a given moment is where you’re supposed to be. This journey of mine has been necessary, but now it has run its course. It’s time to go home. And this time, I have a deadline. A SMART goal, if you will.
Who else out there feels this way about a place? Tell us about it.
Liz Mugavero is the author of the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, the first of which, Kneading to Die, is now available from Kensington Books. In case you hadn’t guessed, she’s got strong ties to the Boston area.