The number of months I’ve lived in Philadelphia.
The number of jobs I’ve worked while in Philly.
The number of places I’ve lived while in Philly.
The number of flights I’ve been on since living in Philly.
The number of days until I leave Philly.
Whenever I went somewhere, met someone new, or saw an old friend one of the first questions that I would be asked was “how do you like the city?” or some iteration of that. For the first couple months I always replied “it’s great,” but that quickly turned into “it’s been an experience.”
Think about that wording: it’s been an experience.
Depending on the way I say it that could either be good or bad. I, for one, am a firm believer that experience breeds good writing and a creative mind, so overall this has been a good experience. But the fact that I stopped saying that it’s good and changed it to it’s been an experience was one of the first signs that I needed to leave.
It’s hard to realize when something is missing when you go without it for an extended period of time. For me that was actual happiness, as opposed to the respites of sadness I would get while living here. The chance encounter of a genuine person, the jobs I held and coworkers I met that gave me joy and a break from both of the “homes” that I grew to despise, the first dates that more often than not ended up going nowhere, but were an excuse to try somewhere new and have a conversation with someone. It was nice to not be lonely for a brief moment.
I never wanted to plant roots in Philly, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want some type of excuse to stay. A real job, a real relationship, a real life; but none of that happened. It was time to pull up the anchor and shove off.
When I went to Europe to study abroad I realized I wanted to travel, and for whatever reason I thought that around six months would be a good amount of time to live in a city. Six months would give you time to get kind of settled, find a few local spots, really get the gist of the city before moving on to the next one.
After being here for eight I stand by my earlier thought, even though it was completely baseless at the time.
In my eight months I’ve had loads of experiences, and I’m proud of all of them, good or bad. In the end I’m growing towards my next destination, and not considering this departure a failure.
It’s just the turning of a page.