Mar 6, 201205:00 AM
The Lighter Side
Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy
Committing to New Orleans
It's hard to write after watching "The Walking Dead." I think I should not write these blogs on Sundays because it means that whatever I've watched on HBO or AMC is in my head making it not very clear for the mystical writing muse to come through. And I'm also not sure how normal it is for me to get as pissed off as I do at television shows. They're fictional. Not real.
But I digress.
I'm getting married in, like, days, people. It just really snuck up on me. Everyone kept telling me, "enjoy your engagement, it goes fast!" And I was like, "Whatever. It's over a year ... I've got plenty of time."
And now I have no more time. So forgive me if I get a little introspective and mushy in the next few paragraphs.
I've been thinking about the idea of "commitment," of course, because marrying someone is the ultimate commitment, but marrying this particular guy also means that I have to commit to New Orleans as well. At least for the foreseeable future. He's from New Orleans, we live in New Orleans, our lives are here. But if I'm completely honest, since I moved here, I've always had a foot still rooted in Ohio, and the other in Louisiana. Now, they both have to be here.
I've never been one to look too far into the future because life taught me early on that that famous saying, "Man plans, God laughs," is one of the truest truths to ever be told ... so I know that I'm saying New Orleans will be my home for the foreseeable future. Who knows what will happen beyond that. No one can know much of anything. And honestly, it's a comforting thought for me. I know a lot of people hate change, or they balk at the idea of their lives changing too drastically ... but I try to take comfort in it. I try to tell myself, "Things won't always be like this ... enjoy the moment. Enjoy now."
So for me, I've never been one to think of things "long-term." My biggest commitments thus far in my life have been finishing college and building a career in something I love doing. And while I know those are achievements to be proud of, it's not like college is a life-long commitment ... and a career? Jobs get more and more fragile with each passing year. I'm not sure that anyone in this world has any real "job security" anymore and if you really feel like you do, you're fooling yourself.
A lifelong commitment is something I've kept at arms length for a long time. Things like marriage and children mean that I can't drop what I'm doing and move to Scotland for a year if I wanted to. Not that I'd do it, but the option was always there ... and now it won't be. And I've always taken great comfort in options.
But I'm ready to commit to my husband (wow, did that feel weird to write) and to New Orleans. I can honestly say that I did my thing while I was single. I traveled, I got educated, I had a few adventures. I really got to know myself. I got the stuff out of my system that I needed to get out. And really, I've already committed myself to him, the whole wedding part is just a formality. A big party.
And I'm not just committing to staying with him for richer or poor, in sickness and in health, but I'm committing to the continuing growth of our relationship, because once you stop growing with someone you start growing apart. And I'm also committing to staying happy, because being happy takes work. It's not just something that happens on its own and it's not something that you're magically blessed with. Being happy takes real work and conscious effort.
And while I'll be making these vows to him, I'll also be saying them to New Orleans itself. I'm here for the long haul.
I did pick up and leave Ohio a few years ago and I had the freedom to do it at the time. I won't have that anymore, but in return I'll have different freedoms. For one, I'll have the freedom of knowing that I'll have someone who has my back in this life. There is great, great comfort in that. I'll have a partner in crime, a consort. There is a certain freedom in knowing that you are supported and can think about other things and other dreams to conquer and realize.
But I've been slow to fully commit to New Orleans because of things I'm sure we all think about. Raising kids here seems a lot different than how I grew up. It seems like down here you start worrying about where your kid goes to school and how to pay for it during your first trimester. Or hell, when you start thinking you want a kid and you start taking pre-natal vitamins. This sounds like a lot of stress and headaches. In the Ohio suburb I grew up in, when you turn 5, you go to the school down the street. Simple as that. I had no idea that was so luxurious at the time. Also, the crime. I've never been afraid like I've been afraid here. But I was also naive when I first got here. I'm not anymore, and that's a good thing. I've since come to terms with the schools and the crime. Shit happens everywhere, you can't escape it. And if I run from a city I love because of these things, then the terrorists win.
And New Orleans has been good to me, it has embraced me in a way I never thought possible. I feel truly at home here, like I can really be my authentic self, sheltered in the beautiful comfort of the creole cottages and old narrow streets of my neighborhood. Everyone in it is delightfully weird and friendly. New Orleans embraces people who might be a little different, a little strange - people who might feel like they don't really belong in other, more "conservative" places. And I've not only found my soul mate in life, but dear friends who truly feel like family, because we're all a little strange, a little different ... like New Orleans itself.
So in return, I embrace New Orleans right back.