I realized while jotting down a throw-away tweet a week and a half ago that Jeremy and I recently passed a fairly significant anniversary without even realizing it: October 6th marked our 10th year of living in Brighton.
If I’m honest, I have to say that I never, ever imagined I’d live here this long. Frankly, I never imagined I’d live anywhere this long; 10 years sounds like an eternity to the Army brat in me. But time has that funny way of speeding up as you get older, and things you think are temporary have a habit of fossilizing when you’re not looking. You tell yourself you’ll just try out this or that, and before you know it a decade has passed and the roots you assumed you’d never put down suddenly seem quite deeply entrenched indeed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just one of those things you figure won’t happen to you—until it does.
Things have happened in the past 10 years which I truly could not have conceived of when we showed up here in October 2000 with no jobs, no money and nothing but the stuff we had managed to fit in a station wagon before driving over from Germany (the essentials, like several stringed instruments and a whole bunch of stuffed animals). I never imagined that Jeremy would become an author three times over and a renowned conference speaker. I never imagined that I would wind up working with a close friend on projects that meant so much to me. I never imagined that we’d make a go of it with the band, I never imagined that I’d become such an enthusiastic cook and food writer. I never imagined that we’d travel to the places we have, I really never imagined that we’d buy a flat, and I never imagined that I’d forget to acknowledge our 10-year Brighton anniversary because I was too busy trying to sort out what carpet to put down in the bedroom.
I’ll admit, I’m ambivalent about staying in one place for such a long time. As a kid I think I longed for roots, but as an adult I’m suspicious of them. I also can’t relate to that feeling of never wanting to live anywhere else (and a lot of people feel that way about Brighton: “I love Brighton so much I could never leave!” Really?). I can imagine myself in so many different places—from Seattle to France to Japan—that the idea of just staying in one place seems odd.
On the flip side, when you stay in one place for a while, you wind up with friends, and routines, and favorite restaurants, with local knowledge and networks of support, and with an understanding of the people and culture around you. And even after living in one town for so long, there are new things to be discovered. Just moving from Hove to Brighton was a pretty big shake-up; sometimes it feels like we’re living somewhere else entirely, but our favorite people and places just happen to be here, too. That’s rather nice.
So, thanks for the past ten years, Brighton&Hove. I have no idea how long my roots will hold me here, but for the time being, I’m happy enough to call you home.