Meet Me in St. Louis

by Jane Moneypenny

I been hanging around this town on a corner
I been bummin’ around this old town so long
I been hanging around this town on a corner
I been bummin’ around this old town for way too long
-Counting Crows, “Hangin’ Around”

There are times that I fall in love with St. Louis all over again. As much as I’m ready to run out after six years, I will quietly admit that I will miss it. This is the city that I truly grew up in, the place I found my footing as an adult. I savor St. Louis in the hot summers, listening to music under the Arch and cheering on the Cardinals. I became a baseball fan here, loving Red Octobers and watching game after game on TV day after day. In the fall, the city is awash in color as the trees of Forest Park turn a warm red-orange hue. There’s something real about living in a place that has four actual seasons; the summers are sweltering, the falls are brisk, the winters icy and the springs are just right. Those are the moments I think I don’t mind staying.

In this city, I learned to stand on my own emotionally and financially; I feel like I can make a difference. I rely on just myself in the comfortable University City apartment that I love. I’m my own person here: no boyfriend, no parents, no pets. There’s a lot of quiet nights of eating dinner alone, doing work in my little office until late hours and questioning this life I’m so unsure of. Someone once told me people who are sad and unhappy are more likely to reflect often and compare their lives to others. There’s time for idle thinking which leads to over analyzation and little action. Each time I return from a break, my desire and enthusiasm to seize the day wanes after a couple weeks and soon, I settle back into daily life and living with the feeling in my chest that something is missing.

St. Louis is filled with old memories that no longer haunt me as they used to, but they still linger in the corner. I think I’ve experienced every emotion possible in these last years as I struggle to find myself. The day I woke up and realized I had moved on from the past was the day I knew it was time to leave.

This decision is life-changing; St. Louis will no longer be home and I will no longer be always wondering and questioning if I’m truly living life. The thought of leaving sends a surge of bittersweet excitement. Life is comfortable and it would be easy to slip back into living here another five years, but it no longer challenges me. Just like the decision I made for college, this is the right long-term choice. This is one path I will never regret taking.

[Insert new city name], here I come!