wordsmith + lover of language

farewell salt lake city

I grew up here. I learned here. I fell in love here. I achieved the potential I knew I had here and now it's time to go. 

I've spent my entire life desperate to leave Utah. I wanted more diversity in my community, in the types of jobs I could have, in the direction my city could grow, wanting always to grow up and up and up, not looking back. I have wholeheartedly thrown myself into the pursuit of chasing these dreams and ambitions. It's exhausted me, broken me, built me and pushed me. I have spent the last year and half applying to countless jobs, some of which I didn't even care to do, so long as it took me away from the place I called home.

I couldn't focus on anything about my present because I was constantly dreaming of an intangible future. I became surly and difficult to be around, dejected and finally abandoned these pursuits in order to work on my own well being. The expectations we place on ourselves can weigh heavier than the already crushing power we give other people to judge us.

So, I took a job. I moved out with a dear friend and resigned myself to being a resident of Salt Lake City. I tried not to look at it like defeat, I honestly didn't want to see it that way. I told myself again and again, "If you can't be happy here, you won't be happy anywhere." I knew that happiness wasn't a place, not at all. Happiness, to be corny and cliché as they come, is absolutely a state of mind.

I reached out to friends, built a network, got off my ass and started to make a home for myself. And let me tell you, the moment you let your guard down and start to form a semblance of routine, life will surprise you. I got a call in August from a company I'd previously applied to for a fellowship with, but ultimately couldn't take the offer. They were reaching out to see if I was interested in moving to Washington D.C. for a full-time position. 

I'll be honest, I hesitated. Questions flooded my mind. Was this real? Was it too good to be true? Wouldn't I miss the life I had just gotten comfortable with? Where would my cat live? What if I didn't like the area I lived in? How would I get all my magazines across the country?

But ultimately, none of that mattered. I took the job. I'm leaving Salt Lake and I'm going to miss it more than I ever thought I would. I'll miss the mountains most I'm sure, growing up in their shadows my entire life has spoiled me. I'll miss the associations I have with this place, the memories I didn't know I was making until I look back on them now, but I know that this is my next step in life. The next phase that will push me to be better and become the kind of person I always wanted to be.

I guess what I'm saying is thanks, Salt Lake. 

For giving me everything, even when I didn't want it.

I'll miss you,

Katherine K. Ellis