So long, and thanks for all the fish

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 2:45pm

I'm not great at saying goodbye.

I never have been. I don't get emotional enough when it happens, so I sort of shut down and distance myself from the experience. I once had to break up with a boy because of "geographical differences" and the best goodbye I could manage when I moved was, "See you later, man."

Not particularly romantic. It's a wonder I've ever maintained a relationship in my life.

But I'm going to have to try to write a nice goodbye anyway because I'm moving away from Block Island.

There's part of me that wishes I could write a beautiful column about how much I'll miss it on Block Island, how bittersweet leaving is, but that's not how I'm feeling. I'm excited to leave. I'm 25-years old and I live with my mother. Sure, lots of millennials do that, but it's not like many of us are happy about it. Additionally, I live in a town where only 4.7 percent of the population is in my age group, according to Wikipedia. That's a tough sell.

So, yes, I'm excited to be moving. I'm glad to be getting off Block Island. I got a lot of good things out of living here, but it's never been my place to begin with. Living here for two years has just solidified that feeling.

I'll miss people, of course. People here have been so good to me, and so much fun to be around. I'll miss the boys at the freight office more than I want to admit (as far as they know, I barely tolerate their hijinks and if questioned directly, I'll be sticking to that story). I'll miss my wonderful newspaper family who have done so much to support me and help me grow as a writer in the last year-and-a-half. I'll miss everyone who jokes with me at the freight office or in municipal meetings, everyone who gives me rides home in the winter when I'm freezing my skinny butt off walking up High Street and everyone who comes up to me to tell me how much they loved this column or that article. You've all been amazing.

Most of all, of course, I will miss Henry the dog, but I'm trying not to think about that.

Perhaps it is somewhat bittersweet. But I want to live somewhere with thrift stores and authentic curry and affordable shredded cheese. While Block Island may have other great things to offer, these are not part of the experience.

Since I turned 18, I've lived in a lot of different places and had a lot of different experiences. Okay, maybe not a lot since I'm only 25, I know, but enough that I've figured out what I like and what I don't in place and lifestyle. I like steady work, not a cycle of boom and bust. I like cities and all the madness that comes with them. I like public transportation. I don't like driving. I don't particularly like boats.

(Honestly that may be the most offensive thing I've ever written in this newspaper. Boaters, please direct all hatemail to The Block Island Times.)

I came to Block Island not because I thought this would be the place to really make my fortune, but because I had $120 to my name and was kind of freaking out about my life. One of the best things about being here is that I've gotten back on my feet. I've gotten years of great experience in my field. I've made amazing connections and solid friendships. Block Island was there to hold me up and when I was falling down and that means more to me than I'll really be able to express. And I feel like Block Island will always be there for me if I fall again.

But I'm not falling anymore.

With the emotional support of family and community and cute dogs I petted in the Interstate Navigation parking lot, I've managed to get back up and it's time for me to get moving again. I have my feet under me, so it's time that I use them. If I don't, I'm just going to get too used to other people doing the heavy lifting for me and I've never been like that. I pride myself on being someone who can really stand strong and...well, not tall. You need to be at least average height to get to use that phrase. Strong and short.

So instead of saying goodbye or writing something lovely about how sad I am to be going, I'm going to take this in a slightly different direction. This is no longer a farewell column. This is a thank you column.

Thank you.

Yes, you, specifically. Reading this. Thank you. You've been really, truly, 100 percent awesome. Thank you for putting up with my stumbles as I learned how to write articles about the Harbors Committee. Thank you for not judging too harshly my inability to remember everyone's (anyone's) name for the first three months of meeting them. Thank you for reading my work and allowing me to put myself out there. Heck, thank you for getting mad about what I said when I did put myself out there; at least I know you were reading it.

Thank you to everyone at the freight office who waited patiently while I dug through what felt like a thousand slips to find yours. Thank you to everyone who brought us cookies in the middle of the winter, or heck, any time at all (I am very easily bribed with food). Thank you for not judging me based on my ill-fitting grey polo.

Thank you to everyone here. Thank you for helping me and making me feel welcome when I was new and scared. Thank you for making me part of the community.