Tomorrow morning before heading in to work, I will finally surrender my Massachusetts drivers license to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
(OMG, how precious is David Archuleta? That boy is what America is all about. But that's a different story. He fills me with love for all mankind.)
So, tomorrow I will finally take the plunge and become a resident of New York.
I have lived in New York City since August 2005. Technically the state says you have to turn your license over 30 days after you become a resident. They don't, however, get too technical about what it means to be a resident. If they're being all simple and literal, I'm almost 3 years overdue and New York can officially do bad things to me for squatting.
But I have a feeling they have more pressing matters on their hands than punishing me for dragging my feet on giving up a part of my past.
This is apparently nostalgia month on Metropolis Unbound.
You see, I've kept my Massachusetts drivers license with its picture of me with beautiful curling brown hair and a nice mid-summer tan even though I've moved on. (Hell, I've bought real estate in New York City. You'd think that was commitment enough. In fact, Citibank just sent me a check for $48.03 to clear out the escrow account on my old mortgage. That's hard core grown up New Yorker.)
But no. Its the last thing. The last piece of me tied to my six years living in Boston, moving between my Beacon Hill studio to live with the ladies of 1426 Commonwealth Ave. to my years in Cambridge. It has my final Boston address and a crease from sitting on an airplane seatbelt the first week I had it. It has a picture of me in younger times, happy and optimistic.
I don't meant to say I'm not optimistic. Quite the opposite. I'll be 31 this month and part of me is grateful every day that I'm still happy and healthy and able to appreciate all of the wonderful things I have while still continuing to strive for more and learn more.
But if I face it, I have a mortgage.
So I have mixed feelings about turning this driver's license into one that shows the face I have now. The older look in my eyes. The slightly sharper lines of my cheeks. But it will make it official in a way I've resisted.
I told an ex-boyfriend once that I had always put off moving down to New York because when I did, it would be done. I'd be home. And if I can hold out financially, I will stay. Brooklyn is now home to me. It's like I'm back with my people. Maybe if I moved back to Manayunk in Philadelphia I'd feel even more so, living back in the neighborhood where my dad's mother and my mom's grandmother were girls together. But for now, I guess I feel more like a New Yorker than anything else, even though I confess again to being raised in New Jersey.
Maybe I'll get priced out like so many people do. Or maybe I'll evolve into a new home. A new state. Or heck, maybe even wind up back on the beach in Ocean City.
The first time I saw my apartment in a photograph on the Internet, I knew that's where I was going to live. Something about it just hit the spot. I called my sister immediately. I almost passed up going to the first open house because it was raining, but I got up and went, thinking that to not go would be a mistake. I was probably right, because when I went back the next day with my sister, brother in law, two roommates and one friend (open house overkill), I made an offer.
So, maybe its exciting. Registering officially that this is where I think I belong right now. But it does mean giving up a little something that I've held on to all this time. A tiny document that I could glance down at and see where I'd come from.
Maybe its about Phatiwe. Maybe turning over this leaf means really saying goodbye to all that and it has been too hard to face. Maybe the license and the gold paper fan hanging on my bedroom wall are my talismans.
It's just a laminated plastic card that lets me drive a car and convinces the Department of Homeland Security that I am me, but what I'm afraid of losing is the smile of the beautiful woman in that picture. I got to look down at it every time I opened my wallet. But now I have to let go.