For a long time it felt inconceivable I’d ever leave, but today I said goodbye to Providence.
This coming September it will be 38 years since I unloaded my luggage at the RISD dorms, and 29 years ago last week I bought the little carriage house on Clarke Lane. This morning I transferred ownership of that house to two men whose enthusiasm for it reminds me of my own.
Like any life, my years in that house were a mixture of good and bad. It’s fair to say I discovered myself there. I shared it with a handful of wonderful guys. I threw more than a few epic (and intimate) parties. And in its studio I learned to be a painter. I also navigated several years of depression, weathered my share of heartbreak, and had to learn to let go of the past in order to embrace a better future.
And that’s what I’m doing now.
I never intended to be in Providence — RISD was a compromise with my parents — and certainly never planned to stay. I was wary of buying the house because in those years I always had a foot out the door. But the city was a protective harbor during the years I unraveled an identity that wasn’t my own. Along the way, I wove a new identity that was bound up in the city. Now it’s time to shed that identity, too.
I always wanted to live on Cape Cod. Being here is a choice, a decision. I sometimes question it, but on the whole I know this is my place. In a way I haven’t felt in a long time, life feels open. I’m excited to explore what’s yet possible.
Farewell, old friend.