Am I really ready yet to commit to this one city?
Recently I started asking myself whether I’m really ready to put down my roots for good here in Berlin. Easy as it has always been for me to commit to a person, I find it exceedingly difficult to commit to a city. I keep feeling an inner restlessness, which only blossoms into satisfaction when I’m traveling. When I’m in a different town, I love catching glimpses of locals in their flats, and always ask myself in those moments how it would be to live there. The thought is often exciting. A related pastime I have is to idly browse through available apartments. Often I feel ready to make a move straight away when I find something nice. All that said, I feel at home in Berlin, and am frequently overcome with a feeling of love when I arrive back in town, spotting the TV tower from afar. I kind of want to stay, but I’m also up for another adventure.
It feels a bit like I married Berlin, and now I’m looking for an affair with another city. A city like New York, Paris or London, for example. Those places have truly cast a spell on me, they tug at my longings in a way I find hard to resist. I catch myself playing with the thought of cheating on my beloved Berlin with another city.
I say all that while being genuinely happy in Berlin. I love my hood, my street, my flat. My current setup will be hard,- if not impossible – to beat. I enjoy strolling around my area, chatting with my neighbors, being greeted by my name by all shopkeepers around, swapping harmless gossip. Living this kind of small-town life embedded into a major city makes me feel at home like few other things in the world.
Which may hint to the heart of it all.
I’ve been living in the same apartment for five years now, and I don’t really see myself leaving any time soon. My place is a real home to me, and having found it a stroke of amazing luck. I could not be more thankful for it. And at the same time, this is the longest period I have ever lived in any one place in all my life. Even during my childhood, 3-4 years was the maximum. I have moved so man times in my life that I actually lost track. Often we simply swapped one street for another in a given city, plenty of times we moved across the country into other towns. Until I found my home here in Berlin. And in a way that gives me cold feet now.
It may be the sense of finality to it all, the ring of definitiveness.
Or maybe I’m simply tempted by the appeal of the new. Or could it be that I just don’t know how to actually put down my roots? After all, I’ve never done it before.
The question swells in me again:
Should I stay or should I stray?
I don’t have a definitive answer yet, but I guess for now I’ll stay. And the rest I’ll give up to fate and serendipity.
This post is also available in DE