So the countdown has begun. August 18th will be my last day living in Buffalo and this day has been coming for years. The summer before 8th grade when I was 12, I took a vacation to visit family in the Bay area and came back wanting to jump and scream and run the fuck away from Buffalo as fast as I could. So I've spent the past 13 years in one way or another trying to get the hell out of here. College kept me here because I was too afraid to spend the ridiculous amount of money to dorm (which I'm spending now instead) and after graduation, I didn't quite know how to find a job and just jump ship, so I stayed here.
In the interim, I traveled a decent amount considering my situation: New York City, Phoenix, Toronto a lot, New Orleans, back to San Francisco, a large part of Italy, and a small part of Switzerland. All this traveling has taught me that there are places far worse than Buffalo *cough*NEW ORLEANS*cough*, but then there are some places where I'd much rather prefer to live. All the while, I've always come back home.
Growing up, Buffalo felt like the worst place to live. It truly is a dying city with not too much opportunity, and I sincerely hope that changes. The winters are terrible, the job market sucks, and as a teenager, it seemed like there was absolutely nothing to do here. In the past couple of years, with my complete overhaul in personality and outlook, I've learned to love this city and I've come to really appreciate it and what it has to offer. While the winters may suck, the summers are fantastic, and easily make up for the 8 month-long grip of near-permafrost. There are so many parks and natural areas that it makes it really easy to connect to the planet. The people can be a lot of fun and there is a thriving cultural underbelly if you care to look for it. Some of the neighborhoods (Allentown, Elmwood, etc) are GREAT places to live and show how great this place really is. Buffalo really has a lot to speak of and could be a wonderful place to live and raise a family. If I hadn't been stuck / stayed here for as long as I have, I probably would have trashed home as often as I could have, but now that I've come to love it, I will always speak (mostly) fondly of Buffalo while abroad.
The fact that I'm leaving has put a very grounding and immediate touch on this summer, and right now, it looks to be the most packed summer I've ever experienced. Thus far, it's been phenomenal. I'm trying to be as present as possible, and I've noticed that I'm remaining very open to a lot of things I may not have considered previously due to lack of confidence or simple preference. I've got a lot of amazing things going on right now, and they're making Buffalo so much better than it ever has been.
The threat of me leaving in 2 months has certainly made me appreciate my relationships and my time with people much more. In fact, I really don't know how I'm going to do with leaving literally everyone and everything so far behind. It's something I've worked for since I was a kid, and now that it's within reach, it's pretty terrifying. A lot of people got the opportunity to do that when they left for college at 18, but I stayed here in Buffalo despite my inner voice practically screaming at me not to, so this whole thing is entirely new for me. My last major transition I guess would've been graduating from High School since college wasn't any sort of grand experience for me, and I handled it really really well. I'm not really worried about leaving, I think it's just going to be a lot harder than I had ever anticipated simply because up until maybe a year or two ago, I was pretty bitter for having been stuck here for so long. Now that I have an attachment to home, flying away from it won't be as fun as it might have been years ago.
Obviously, I'm still looking forward to this incredible opportunity and I am extremely proud of myself for accomplishing what I have so far. All of this is just making me understand, and I have for a while, that my current life is actually pretty spectacular. I have great friends, good family, and I'm an amazing person with a stunning personality with a lot to offer everyone he has in his life. I'm very excited for the next chapter, but I'm getting attached to the current one and after all of the pain, work, and hardship, I've set myself up with something awesome.
Life is good.