I spent most of the holidays under a punishing melancholy, but not, I don’t think, for the standard holiday reasons. I’m sure the fleeting nature of the holiday and the usual post-Christmas disappointment contributed to it, but I think it went a little deeper.
In a few months time — 12 weeks, in fact — I’ll be leaving Atlanta to tart a new phase of life. It’s something I’m very excited about, but it also signifies a conclusion. I’ve been in Atlanta for 10 years, which is a third of my life, and those 10 years have been very formative. I’ve met wonderful people, made valuable friends, had significant life experiences, built a career, and on and on. Leaving draws that to a close. While it doesn’t invalidate any of those things, it does end several of them. In all honesty, I know I’m not going to remain in consistent contact with a lot of those friends, but I’m reluctant to call them “lost,” and I’m sure I will be equally as reluctant to do so later.
When I leave Atlanta, I’ll be returning to Dallas. That’s part of the melancholy, too. I don’t harbor any romantic illusions about the move. It’s not going to be some bittersweet journey home like Garden State, in which I find that whiny neediness is actually attractive. It’s primarily a pragmatic decision. Adding emotional gravity to it, however, is the fact that I spent so many years there before. I can’t help but have some degree of nostalgia regarding the city. It’s where my family lives. It’s where I made my first true, close friends.
Each time I look at either phase of my life, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss. With Atlanta, I’m leaving my modern, current life. With Dallas, I’m returning to something that’s not the same as when I left it previously.
That’s the point of contention. Things are different. I don’t know why the resonant response there is melancholy. Different can be growth or progress. Different can mean potential and opportunity. That’s certainly the case with what I’m seting out to do. So much of nostalgia, though, is tinted blue for me instead of rose.
Under the iron bridge we kissed
And although I ended up with sore lips
It just wasn’t like the old days anymore