Dear Boston – I Need Some Space

Dear Boston,

It’s over – I’m leaving you for another city. You’re a great place and we have a lot in common. But I’ve been visiting other cities – and I’ve discovered that my heart belongs to San Francisco.

Photo credit: Jeff Gunn

You’re just too moody and unpredictable for me. When I’m with you in June, you’re all warm and sunny and invite me to do things like go biking along the Charles River and take trips to the beach. Everything’s wonderful and carefree.

July rolls around and our torrid affair grows hotter and the situation gets unbearably sticky. I find myself avoiding you during the daytime and actually choose to stay in an air-conditioned office rather than have to face you.

September arrives and you try to make it up to me with me beautifully colored falling leaves that dance from the sky while I sip hot cider and get in the spirit for Halloween. I start to feel that magical spark again and look forward to snuggling under the covers.

Then you slowly start to grow colder and colder. Our embraces in the sunshine are far less frequent. I’m perplexed and I don’t know what I did to deserve this kind of behavior.

In December, things are almost tolerable because of all the holiday cheer. I tell myself that I’ll just put on a happy face (and a heavy sweater) and get through the holidays.

But then January is like an arctic punch in the face. You’re mercilessly cold and even though I’m usually an active outdoorsy person who likes to spend weekends walking, biking or rollerblading, I’m transformed into a pathetic couch potato who doesn’t want to venture more than a half block from her apartment.

It’s bad enough you throw stormy temper tantrums, but to add insult to injury, I have to clean up your mess. Then I have to tiptoe around your icy streets for fear you might sprain my ankle like you did last year.

This goes on for months and months and I don’t think I can take it anymore. I long for things to go back to how they used to be, when you would hold me in your warm embrace and inspire me to frolic in the sunshine.

You keep running hot and cold and giving me mixed signals. It’s like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Then one day, you start to come around and start acting more like your old self, the one I know and love. It lasts for a few days and I start to relax and think I’d misjudged you. Maybe you’re just sensitive and misunderstood and I have to learn how to handle you and your temperamental moods.

We have a lovely spring filled with walks along the Charles River and sipping margaritas on the patio. You’ve won my heart back. I’ve forgiven you for the brutal punches of winter. Then the vicious cycle starts all over again.

Photo credit: Jonathan Rissmeyer

I’ve talked to friends that tell me that I deserve better. They say I shouldn’t trust you. Once you’ve smacked me around your brutal winds and stormy tantrums that I spend days recovering from, you’ll just do it again and again. They tell me that no matter how many flowers you bring me in the spring, you’ll just keep mistreating me again when winter rolls around.

I have friends in California who show me pictures of themselves smiling and doing  outdoorsy activities all year long. They have the freedom to do as they please and they don’t have to put on four layers of wool and a ski jacket before leaving the house in the morning.

Boston, you’re a great city with a lot of great qualities. We’ve shared a lot of good times. But, now I just need some space – 3,000 miles of it.

Yours fondly,

The Moving Muse


75 thoughts on “Dear Boston – I Need Some Space

  1. Oh man, another East Coast apostate. I admit, my heart fluttered as well when I visited LA and SF three years ago. Thankfully it was for a conference and nothing permanent. The winter breeze in SF gently kisses you instead of whooshing through streets and avenues like it does in New York City. And I’ve heard Boston gets even colder.
    Good for you—you can do better. And you did!
    And congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Bharat! I love New York (and I’m a native New Yorker) and NYC is a super, super close 2nd choice for me. Every time I visit, I fall in love with the city’s energy and vibrance. Ideally, I would have a job that allows me to work from both cities for part of the year.

      • And Boston really does feel much colder than NYC! Perhaps it has something to do with NYC’s skyscrapers blocking the winds. Plus, since stores and buildings, etc. are so close together in NYC, it’s easier to duck in and out of the cold by hopping between the many restaurants, coffe shops and bars (there are some benefits to NYC’s lack of space 🙂

  2. Western NY here. You mirror my sentiments exactly! What a wonderful, creative read. You didn’t mention warm hands and feet. I hate getting up in the winter because they only time my hands and feet are warm is when I’m sleeping. I’m the freak who puts gloves on before feet go into slippers.
    I’m sure Boston is going to miss you very much, but it’s ways will never change. Enjoy the adventure! ( and warmth )

    • Hi Mountain Gypsy,
      I’m glad you could relate to my post. Gloves and slippers before bed are a good idea! (I have no problem being a freak – I think I’m one of the few folks in the Boston area who wears long johns under my jeans in January).

      The cold hands are indeed a problem – there have been too many times where I’ve been waiting for the bus and my hands are have been so cold that I’m actually in pain – even while wearing gloves!

  3. To you the one moving.I would think twice about it. I left New England in 2000 which has been a challenge. Moved hoping for better opportunities and good weather to my suprise it was worse. Hot,humid air very stagnant and hard to breathe, Enough though stay where you are and enjoy the seasons because they dissappear quickly.PS the people act very different towards New Englanders rude,snooty.

    • I’m sorry you’ve had such challenging experiences after leaving Boston. Yes, there are certainly places that are far hotter and more, like the South. That’s why I’m going to San Francisco, for the milder, less extreme weather and low humidity. And yes, the seasons in Boston do pass far too quickly – big problem!

  4. I couldn’t believe it when I stubbled upon this post in Freshly Pressed. I too have just relocated from Boston with exactly the same sentiments! Thanks for expressing them so well and congrats on being Pressed.

    • Aw, thanks so much for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed the post – and that you fled Boston for pastures that are at least slightly sunnier I hope (I’ve heard it’s warmer in Virginia, yes? and with more distinct seasons?)

  5. It’s been a while since I’ve browsed wordpress and even longer since I read a creative writing piece. I absolutely loved this. It’s absolutely adorable, congratulations on being freshly pressed and good luck in San Fransisco!

  6. ha! i have to laugh…i was in the same position when i lived in ontario, canada! it didnt help that my first year there culminated in one of the worst winters they ever had…almost in living memory…-35C was normal temperature! ever since i left, of course the ambiguous sods law crept in…yep, you got it….they never had a winter as cold as that anyways, that first winter did it for me…i legged it outta there as fast as my little bendy legs would carry me….to BC!

    • Wow! Your experience in Ontario makes my Boston seem pale in comparison! The only part of Canada I’ve been to is Montreal (in summer!). I just visited that beautiful city recently and fell in love with it – but I knew I could never live there because of the winters. But, it would be a great location for a summer home.
      I’m glad you got out of Ontario’s bitter cold quickly (it’s better to break things off after a few bad dates than to get a trapped in a bad relationship for fifteen years 🙂

      • yep! i moved to BC but im working in the uk on assignment….be back in BC very soon! good luck with the move…im sure you’ll land somethng pretty soon…in my experience, once youve fixed it in your mind that youre gonna do such-n-such a thing, providence jumps in to make it happen…!

  7. Thank you for writing this. It was fun to think of Boston as a person, rather than a city. Ah, such resemblance of relationships come and gone, I suppose. Well, welcome to the West Coast. I gather that the fog, sunless days, and earthquakes are better than where you’re coming from. Those will be the short-lived arguments, when making up means beautiful weather and delightful accommodations of the natural scenery. Good luck in your journey!

    • Hi MJ,
      Thanks for the welcome! Glad you enjoyed the post.

      The earthquake risk is a concern for me (largely because my anxious mom brings it up every time I mention San Francisco!) and I do worry that the earthquake worry will always be in the back of my mind (yes, you read that right – I’m worried about worrying!)

      I will gladly take fog over bitter cold any day.

      As for the sunless days in the winter (you’re referring to winter, yes?), I’ve actually never visited SF in the winter – but from what my one of my East Coast friends who moved to SF tells me, the winters are still waaaaay better than Boston’s winters.

  8. Hahahaaaaa! This is great.

    I think my husband may think I’m slightly Boston-esque in all my mood swinging glory. Strangely enough Im originally from San Francisco.

  9. This was a wonderful read. I have just visited for the first time and fell in love with it! But being from a northern east coast state, I do agree with the mistreatment. I have occasionally thought of moving south. One day… 🙂 best of luck in San Fransico!!

  10. Ah to be held by the arms of a fickle lover! uhm… city. Always a good thing to broaden one’s horizons. Live on the west coast. You might conclude that eleven months of sunshine a year is boring and that having only two seasons is too weird for words. You might long for a river you could skate away on, like Joni. Or maybe you will just be and remain ecstatic.

    After having lived in Johannesburg for almost two decades I returned to the northern hemisphere. I prefer having four seasons. I don’t mind the fickleness. It’s never boring.

  11. I was not sure how I would feel about someone bad mouthing my beloved Boston. But having abandoned New England winters six years ago to move to Florida I don’t really think I can complain.

  12. Yup…sounds like our farewell to NJ for the warmer weather in FL!!

    However, 2 years after we moved here, Hurricane Charlie hit!!

    Can’t escape life wherever we go, but we love it here!!

    And you’ll love your move, too!! God Bless! Love your post!

  13. I lived in Boston for 11 years. Off and on over the years I debated whether to pick up and go but got comfortable and liked the (albeit constantly changing) international friend network I had there. Finally I moved to Toronto (milder here than Beantown, believe it or not!) a little over a year ago and I’ll tell you, I’ve never looked back. Not once. Onwards and upwards, champ! 🙂

    • Hi Steph,
      I’m glad you can relate to my post! Yes, it’s very easy to get comfortable here (or anywhere for that matter). Glad you moved to Toronto – and yes, it’s shocking that the weather would be milder there!

  14. From a fellow Bostonian now living in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which doesn’t get as cold but gives us psychotic rain (yes you are going to rain today, like everyday, but when just do it and get it over with!).

    At least Boston has four seasons unlike Ireland (one: rain) or San Francisco (one: warm). Enjoy your move! 🙂

  15. I’m a transplant who has been here for 16 years and love living in the city. But the weather is a definite drawback although last winter was so mild that I was seduced into staying for at least another year. I hope you enjoy your time in San Francisco!

  16. Absolutely loving this… and oh how I can relate! I attended college in Boston and though I miss many things about that city, I do not miss those winter days where it felt as though my face was coming off!!!! lol

    Wonderful read and thank you for sharing!

    Love and light

    ~ Jennifer

  17. When I was up there at BU for grad school I was totally walking along the Charles in January and February with a dripping nose and a frozen face. At the time it was semi-miserable but it was still fun! Good luck on your adventures!

  18. This is great! I just moved to DC from Flagstaff where it still snows but still can do fun things in the day time when it’s not too windy out. This is such a sad break up sometimes when you really want a great hot cup of coco and people look at you weird… have fun moving!

    • Hi Mrs. Fringe,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! NYC is such a great city and it is also a tempting choice for me so I always like to hear opinions from people who live there. I was feeling nostalgic for NYC a little while ago, but after reading your blog post on cockroaches, my nostalgia has subsided a little 😉

      • The west coast is definitely a better choice. The heat and humidity in NY are the same as Boston, and remember how quickly a lovely blanket of snow turns to black piles on every curb. 😉

      • Thanks for setting me straight 🙂 The weather extremes can be such a deal-breaker.

        Even still, I keep finding myself having moments of waffling because NYC has such an amazing energy – but then I wonder if the daily grind of living there would wear me out (it’s fun for a weekend visit, but after a hard day at a 9-5 job, I fear that the crowds and noise would may be more draining than energizing)

      • Honestly, I think much depends on your budget. It’s a crazy expensive city to live in, so if/when you have a family…And don’t get me started on the schools. 😉

      • Haha – I won’t get you started on the schools since I don’t have to worry about that yet. Ah, yes, the expense – I’d want to live there and be comfortable, not scraping together money for rent and meals. I guess I’ll live in San Francisco first and get a second home in NYC after I’ve made my first million dollars as a writer 😉

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