(Go west) Sun in wintertime
(Go west) We will do just fine
(Go west) Where the skies are blue
(Go west) This is what we’re gonna do
– “Go West”
The Pet Shop Boys
(okay … I know it is by the Village People, but this version is just so much better)

My move to Phoenix was sudden – sudden enough, I am grateful, to keep me from over-thinking the gravity of it and playing the “what if” game. In response to hearing I was moving,, the first question was always “Why?” followed by, “How long do you plan to stay there for?” While I remember answering the first question after my moves to Georgia, South Carolina and Massachusetts, it was probably the first time I had consistently been asked about the duration – as if it was unfathomable that this may not be a temporary gig.

The longer answer to question one involves a good friend who I worked with in Charleston, a new job opportunity, cheaper rent and warmer weather. The shorter answer I have started giving is this: it was an esoteric life change.

I knew what I felt was missing from my life; I had high hopes for what could instantly improve upon leaving everything to move cross-country. In my head, I had created the conceptual West Coast Jen – the one who is outdoors 12 months a year. West Coast Jen, you see, would be in stark contrast with East Coast Jen, who had just spent 12 months rather contently in a dark Irish corner bar. West Coast Jen would be less stressed, happier and in an overall better place.

Then the everyday started to build up. And a lot of the stress came back. And most of all, I realized I lost focus on what is supposed to count. I didn’t move cross-country without reason. I just needed a reminder of why – and “why” isn’t the same as “why not.”

There is nothing easier in this world than talking myself out of what really matters  – whether it is just to me or to the entire world around me. And it’s not about making New Year’s resolutions or telling myself that it will actually make a difference if today is the day I stop biting my nails, or taking action on some other arbitrary goal or action. Rather, I need to remind myself that I know what I want. I know what I deserve. And I know which days I give up because it’s easier.

Time for East Coast Jen to remind West Coast Jen what it’s all about …

“You gotta swim, swim in the dark
There’s no shame in drifting
Feel the tide shifting and wait for the spark
Yeah, you gotta swim, don’t let yourself sink
Just find the horizon
I promise you, it’s not as far as you think”
– “Swim”
Jack’s Mannequin