Sunday, February 3, 2013

Live Like a Tourist

Super Bowl Sunday.  The Worst Case Scenario Super Bowl for Steelers fans.  There is no winning with this one:  do you want the 49'ers to win and tie our beloved team for the most Lombardis in the trophy case, or do you want to protect that entitlement at the expense of seeing the hated rival Ravens hoist one?  Either way, at the end of the night there is something to be unhappy about.  Yet, here I am getting ready for the Big Game with a Big Meal and will spend the hours before kick-off watching the Pens-Capitals, just like I did two years ago.  Two years ago.  Has it really been that long since I moved here?  Sometimes I still feel like such a newbie, but sure enough, Cheyenne and I have indeed called Pittsburgh home for 24 full months.  What a crazy time it has been, too.  And after all this time there are some things that I'm so comfortable with that it seems like I've been here forever and yet, at other times, I'm reminded that I still have a lot to learn about my not-so-new home.  And for every experience I've had, there are others I still want to have or places I haven't gotten to yet.  But, if I sit here comfortably on my Steelers couch, watching Sunday afternoon Penguins hockey, I have to confess that I've seen and done more in two rapidly passing years than I did probably in a decade in Austin.  Now, granted, there were reasons outside of my control for why I couldn't get out more to Keep Austin Weird.  But, in general, I think moving to a new city spurs people to get out and explore more; it's a natural side effect to relocation.  As I contemplated my first two years here this morning, watching out the window at the snow falling just like it did the first day I lived here, I thought to myself that everyone should have the opportunity to move at least once in their life to shake them out of their routine and get them out in world.  Too bad it is so expensive.

To be fair, Austin is an awesome city with lots to do.  But, one becomes absorbed in the regularity of life:  working, paying the bills, getting the kids to and from school.  Going for groceries seems like the big trip out.  If you throw in an illness or two, and an already tightly contained world folds in on itself.  Moving to a new place carries some of those same obligations and time constraints with you of course, but it also forces the family to get out there a bit if only to find the services they took for granted before.

However, I have to acknowledge that it was being a caretaker and a working mother that made my world so small.  I don't resent that sacrifice, but I have to realize that, for me, it was liberating after - in some ways - being shut in for so many years.  The big days for so long were the trips to the doctors - sometimes three in a day.  What I suddenly can think about is using that time to go to the zoo or the dog park, or maybe the trendy Strip District to look for cheap Steelers and Penguins stuff.  That's not just because I live in a new and vibrant place, but because my days as a caregiver are behind me.  I've discussed before allowing oneself to be reintroduced to life if our time as caregivers ends.  To allow ourselves to be released from the guilt and/or grief and take some joy from life.  So, today as I was thinking about all of this, I realized that every city has things to commend it - of course, or else no one would live there!  And I'm willing to bet most of us don't realize all the wonders each city holds within it.  So, maybe it's not so much that everyone should move to find wondrous new things as it is that everyone should live at least some of the time like they are a tourist.

No comments:

Post a Comment