Before moving to the Bay Area, we lived in Sacramento. I went to college there. That's where I met my husband. We were married there. Bought our first home there. Had our first "child", a Golden Retriever dog named "Chester". My life in Sacramento brought me some of the most amazing moments of happiness, as well as moments of some of the deepest sorrow of my life. I found myself there. We loved that town.
There were a lot of reasons that we ultimately decided to move to the Bay Area. One of the reasons was the climate. Sacramento is HOT during the summers. One of the reasons was to be closer to our families, as we were going to be starting our own family. Of real kids. Not dogs.
I really haven't gone back all that often, even though I still have very close friends who still live in the Sacramento area. After we had kids, there just never seemed to be enough time. I used to go up regularly and visit a group of my friends that all had kids around the same time as I did. We'd get together with all of our kids, but the more kids we added to the mix, the more complicated it was to coordinate a time to get together.
So when I went up to Sacramento recently for dinner with two of my very close friends, D and R, it was a real treat. I drove up with one of my good friends from work, SJ, who is also friends with D and R. We took off of work early to beat traffic, hit the outlets on the way up (Santa's bringing me some nice items from Banana Republic!) and then met D and R for dinner.
We relived old times, caught up on the latest gossip and talked a bit about our lives now. But mostly, we laughed. And laughed. And laughed. If laughter is the best medicine, then I should be good for the rest of the cold and flu season.
As soon as I got off the freeway at that old familiar exit, passing Old Sacramento, where my husband and I were married, driving past the building that I worked in for so many years...it was like going home. The memories of that town that I loved so much came flooding back to me.
I remembered the warm summer nights that were the reward of surviving the hot summer days. I remembered the vibrant colors of Fall on the tree lined streets. I remembered taking walks in our old neighborhood, and feeling so safe. I remembered the feeling of living in a "city" that felt like a small town. I remembered falling in love. I remembered my wonderful friends who left such deep impressions on my life.
I remembered the reason that I moved to Sacramento in the first place. I grew up in the Bay Area, but decided to stay in Sacramento after college to start my career, and my life, there. I wanted to be someplace new. Fresh. Without history of my childhood. Not that my childhood was at all bad, it's just that I wasn't sure I could develop my adulthood in the same place.
So for me, Sacramento was independence. It was coming into myself. It was mine. It was home. I think it always will be.