Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Hello again, Invisible Friends! It's good to see you again, if only for a little while. It is hard to believe that I have served as custodian of this particular patch of Internet real estate for over a dozen years. Looking back I can barely recognize the sleep-deprived science teacher who kickstarted this blog with a frustration fueled manifesto inspired by a moderately obscure Simpsons reference. Those early posts from Underwood have taken on the character of time capsules, each one containing tiny fragments of the person I used to be.
I suppose the same could be said for the posts written once I left the world of high school education and enrolled in graduate school, but for some reason, these don't feel quite as distant. Perhaps it is because my tenure at Old Ivy served as a sort of initiation into my current professional identity as a historian of science. Perhaps it's simply a matter of time, and in a few more years I will feel just as far removed from my predoctoral self.
Yet throughout the many changes that have occurred in my life since this blog began, one thing has remained constant: geography. Over the course of several apartment changes, fellowship programs, and conference trips, the metropolitan area that I called home stayed the same. I felt a deep sense of connection to this city, arguably the first truly American city, and in my opinion still its greatest, despite being overlooked by partisans of larger, flashier urbanities. This is where I took the first tentative steps into adult independence and eventually maneuvered myself on to my current career path. The fact that it is also my actual birthplace and the site where my family traces its roots only served to further strengthen those ties.
For these reasons and more, I will always identify with this place and its people. But in a few days, I will no longer be able to call it home. By the time 2016 rolls around, I will have driven halfway across the country to embark on a new adventure, leaving the east coast behind in favor of the endless prairies of the midwest. The motives for this relocation are first and foremost professional: there are opportunities out there that are simply too good to ignore. But as one might expect, there are personal factors involved. As much as it will sadden me to leave, there is a part of me that longs for a fresh start and a clean slate: a chance to reinvent myself, as we all must so many times during our lives.
This is likely the last post I will write in the apartment I've occupied for the past four years and the city I've loved all my life. Tomorrow will be devoted to final cleanup and terminating my utilities, including Internet access. Then on Thursday (New Year's Eve), I pack the car and drive west. Whether or not this is the final post of this blog's surprisingly long life, I can not say with any certainty. After all, in many ways it is an anachronism. The few remaining blogs on my Invisible Blogroll are stagnant and have been for years. I have not been much better. Nevertheless, perhaps I'll check in from time to time to let you know how things are going.
After all, as I said to one coworker shortly before leaving my office for the last time, this is not the end of my story, just the beginning of a new chapter.
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