I always know when it's time to leave somewhere. Sometimes it happens gradually, sometimes I just open my eyes in the morning and realise I need to live somewhere else. The last time I felt this so strongly was during 2001 and 2002. Living in Grenoble, France, last year at university, my family had just moved to California, the Twin Towers had fallen to the ground in front of my eyes through my television, and my deep research on Sylvia Plath for my thesis was creating my own personal bell jar. I only left the house to go to my few classes, to teach and tutor my students and to get groceries. Tim Buckley (Anthology), Tom Waits (Used Songs) and Bob Dylan (Desire) were the only CDs in my 3 CD player, and I spent most of my days reading and watching inane crap on TV (mixed with documentaries on serial killers, old-fashioned god people and terrorism). My friends would stop by to see me, try to get me to go out with them, just like old times, and would leave me multiple messages on my answering machine every night telling me how much they missed me, singing to me (I wish I had saved the tape - some of those messages were pretty amazing).
All I wanted was to leave. Be somewhere else. Do something else. Be someone else.
I got through it, moved to the US for a while, and because I couldn't stay there longer than 3 months, went off to Israel for a little over a year and then to London for a little less than a year. And then arrived in NYC.
From the moment I moved here I never thought I would want to leave. I vividly remember getting off the plane at JFK, getting in a cab, and thinking to myself "this is what it feels like to come home". Six years later, and I am finally feeling that same sinking, gradual feeling of realisation that I am very much tired of living here. I'm tired of being unhappy at work, I'm tired of not doing something that really means something to me (and to the rest of the world), I'm tired of not having a quiet place to go to and relax, I'm tired of not being able to grow my own food, I'm tired of having to listen to my friends complain about everyone else, and about how they all want to change their lives but just end up doing the same thing over and over again (i.e. getting drunk in the same bar every night). I'm tired of giving people the same advice that I should be taking myself.
I can't just pick up and move this time around though.. I have debt to pay off, a need to sustain myself, rent and bills to pay, plans to make. I don't even know where I want to go! One day it's England, another France, another California and yet another day setting up my own commune on a tropical island where I can fully sustain my own life.
But the one certainty that I do have is that I don't want to be HERE anymore.