I’ve always had a bit of Peter Pan in me. I never wanted to grow up. I resisted the nine-to-five job and grown-up responsibilities as long as I could, but I guess we all have to grow up eventually.
Life often challenges you with “shit or get off the pot” moments. This is one of them. Cohabitation: to live together as or as if a married couple. That means my shoes officially in a closet and my hat hung. The terms “our” and “we” will effortlessly slip into our vocabulary, and my things will mingle with her things, transcending to become “ours.” The long and the short of it, is that Amber and I are moving to a town that is about an hours drive from Healdsburg. And it seems only fitting that we move to the town where we first met. We’ve signed our names to the lease of our “love nest” as Amber has deemed it. I now pronounce us cohabited.
A few weeks ago, Jon and I chatted about what if scenarios. Literally speaking, we all know how we took road A or B and arrived at current place C. My mind has been wandering to the far-off places of what if since we had that conversation. Jon and I have been roommates since 2010. In just a few weeks, we won’t, as I “take the plunge” into cohabitation with Amber. And you know, to live with Amber and build a future will be an awfully big adventure.
The adventure I’ve had getting to this place in life has been awfully big to boot. The big “what if” that Jon presented was, what if Affronti was a successful restaurant? Now, Jon and I can joke about things like this because we put a lot of effort into making a not-so-successful restaurant successful, only to abandon ship after two years before that ship eventually sunk.
Jon and I also used to joke about how we were the founders of our group of friends. Now, there are plenty of scenarios for each person I’ve met over the last four years that could be altered by their – and my decisions; but assuming all permutations stay the same, except for Affronti, things would be quite different for all of us. Laugh and sneer if you want, but it is because of Jon and I that the shapes of things are what they are. Without Jon and I meeting, we don’t live together, which means we don’t become neighbors and friends with Jenny. Maybe we all meet somewhere down the road – because after all, Healdsburg is rather small. But really what if? I probably wouldn’t be working at Wine Spectator because I would have a steady job as wine buyer and assistant manager. I probably would not have met Amber, and Jon and I would probably still be roommates, but living in grander house than the one on Fitch Street that we called home for two years.
Without Affronti, my dear friend, Mark doesn’t meet Jon or myself, or place his wine on the list by the glass. And without Affronti I don’t meet Brittany whose friend, Michelle comes to visit, who meets Andrew, who has a BBQ at his house where we all meet Tej. I can go on and on, but you get the picture. Do you believe yet? Clap if you believe!
Before 2009, I never had the big, tight-knit group of friends that I do now. Our friends plan hiking trips and river days; we get together every Sunday to watch The Walking Dead and share Friendsgiving Dinner together. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the camaraderie among my group of friends is extraordinary. I guess the hardest part of this move will be putting myself further away from them and the life I’ve built with them over the last four years. That’s why it’s so crazy to think about what if. Would all the faces I’ve met and all the memories I’ve had over the last four years have happened if I didn’t take a job? Would moving across the valley seem so daunting if I weren’t leaving so many friends in Healdsburg?
There are infinite permutations that you can play out, but I played out the game with the cards I had in my hand. And even though some faces have come and gone, and there has been hardship and strife, I wouldn’t change any card that I’ve played. And while I will miss living in Healdsburg and being part of spontaneous adventures, I’m ready to have new adventures in a new town, and make new memories.
Healdsburg was the place where it all started, but we are all growing up, and some of us will inevitably drift away. You can’t be afraid to choose the roads that take you in new directions. Life has a funny way of pushing you in the right directions when you’re ready. If the what if is staring you right in the face, telling you to choose, don’t get lost in Never Never Land. Sometimes the biggest or smallest leaps can make all the difference in the grand scheme of things. The memories we’ve shared and the relationships we’ve made won’t let us forget. So to all my friends that I’m leaving in Healdsburg, in the words of Peter Pan, “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting;” and the memories we have shared are unforgettable. I’m only moving across the valley; this isn’t goodbye, its just see you later.
P.S. We have a spare bedroom for crashing and we’re walking distance of town, so don’t be strangers.