Over the past six years, my laptop of choice has always been a PC with a hefty video card and processor. I value the combination of portability for mobile learning and power for recreational gaming. However, this requires certain compromises. My laptops have never had anything close to quality battery life. So, when I work outside of home, I am tethered to locations with easy access to power outlets. Whenever I enter a new library or coffee shop, my first instinct is to map out all the optimal electrical access points. As a new place becomes an old place, I develop favorite chairs, tables, corners.
I’m sitting in an old place, at a favorite spot. I couldn’t even begin to recall the number of tests prepared for, papers written, and conversations facilitated by this spot in this place. I’ve done some of my best work here. It seems my life has come full circle again.
For four years, this coffee shop served as a hub for social and academic endeavors. Many of the blog posts featured throughout the years have been written from this same spot in this same place. Two years gone, here I am again. This is not the first time I’ve returned since graduation, but it may be one of the last.
Here’s what I did not fully anticipate about my geographically unstable lifestyle: every time I move, I leave a part of myself behind. To be fair, some of this is by choice as I seek to redefine who I am, but it doesn’t change how it feels to return. My life is beginning to feel like a book full of unfinished chapters written by an author obsessed with cliff hangers. Is this bad or good, normal or strange? I don’t know, and I’m not sure it can be defined in such stark dichotomous terms. Maybe it’s little more than nostalgia and this entire thought exercise is meaningless.
Still, it is strange to re-unite with older versions of myself, like meeting an old friend again. Much of the person I was here—the dreams, the fears, the achievements and the mistakes—I still carry with me. But, some have remained and continue to haunt these favorite spots in these old places. Familiar walls trapped and kept parts of me left behind in fading memories that will eventually disappear forever.
Now here I sit again, at this coffee shop, facing the next transition, shedding again a former version of myself in Boston. I don’t view these repetitive restarts as ‘bad’, rather that of soft mourning often natural when waving goodbye. I expect this is often a motivation, even if unconscious, behind settling down and committing to an area, a job, a relationship. I’m afraid of commitment, not to any of those, but I’m not ready for that level of commitment to myself. I am not sure this version of myself is the one I wish to live with for the coming years. So I continue to scatter abandon parts across the map.
Yet, I still find myself revisiting these old places and these past memories. Whenever I leave, I often find myself telling friends that I’ll be back again, and to date that’s been true. So, maybe I’m not completing the circle, but just continuing through the figure 8. Returning to all the same places before crossing the middle and back again.
Does any of this matter? Is any of this important or true? Maybe not and I’m not sure that I care.
These are just laptop musing as I sit at a favorite spot in an old place talking with a previous version of me.