When I came to Sacramento County back in early 2003, I had no intention of staying. In fact, I did leave for about four months in the beginning of 2004. But by April I was back and I have been here ever since. I am now established here – it is my home. My home before was worlds apart both geographically and socially. Truckee, Calif., at about 6,500 feet, is large as far as Sierra communities go, but not like the suburbia that is the greater Sacramento area – although it is smallish when compared to other metropolises. At any rate, I felt there was a different socio-cultural dynamic at work here and I was not attracted to it. But that attitude was prejudice spawned by aesthetics – the mountains are beautiful; this valley, less so.
But there are people everywhere. And people are people – everywhere. I came here to escape the chaos that, through a variety of mechanisms, my life had become. It was not Truckee per se - or even the people there – it could have been anywhere, but a change of locale was necessary and Sacramento was it. I knew virtually no one here. I was separated from the few close friends I had left by geography… or lost track of them through time. I was all alone… and to be perfectly honest, I liked it that way. At least I thought I did. I needed to detach for a while – I needed to figure out who I was and what I was doing here, not in Sacramento, but on the planet. It was a major crossroads in my life – I was 40 years old.
Although I had made new associations and even some tentative friendships, I never let anyone too close. At first, that space did what I needed it to do, but eventually I had to reconnect with the human race. I had to make new friends, from scratch, at my (ahem) advanced age. It wasn’t easy. Once my roots were set and I knew I would not be leaving anytime soon, those tentative friends worked their way closer and closer to my heart. I’d like to say that I let them in, but the reality is that many saw in me what I could not see in myself and they actually pushed their way through. As time went on, it became easier for me to establish bonds with others – but those early relationships laid groundwork that I could not do by myself.
Since moving here more than five years ago, I have made numerous friends that are very close to me… friends whom I love very much. Over my life, there have been many associations that I called friendships, but they were not. They were negotiated relationships – unspoken, yes, but negotiated all the same. They were based on a commodity – something usually (but not always) tangible that had some value. It was a barter system. Though there were some friends from days gone by that are friends in the truest sense of the word, it was difficult at the time to differentiate – the term friend was much more nebulous than it is now. Now I can tell the difference.
It doesn’t matter what I have, where I live, what I look like, what I drive or any of the other external things that I thought made me who I am. My friends today care about me – the inside me, the core me, the real me. And at the same time, it matters not one iota to me what their external circumstances might be. There is a connection – one that cannot be manufactured. And it is real. So Sacramento and the surrounding area is still not as beautiful as Truckee, but it has something that I cherish even more…