Monday, May 18, 2009

Marking Time and Place

היום תשעה ושלשים יומים שהם חמשה שבועות ארבעה יומים לעמר
Today is the thirty-ninth day of the omer - five weeks and four days
נצח שביסוד

A day of endurance in a week of foundation

Just as there are the timeframes that mark the cycles of the year--secular, spiritual, agricultural--there are also the periods of time that mark the flow of life. While the former have a set place and time, the latter are more fluid and subject to change, determined by the life that is marked.

For instance, where I have lived, when I lived there, for how long, and for what percentage of my life marks not only what era I am in, but who I am in that era--as an adolescent, a teenager, an adult, middle-aged, an elder.

At this point, I've spent more years of my life in New York than in San Francisco. The majority of that time was spent in suburbia, but the eight years I lived in Manhattan as a young adult were formative. Even though I've lived in San Francisco for the past 23 years, few people I meet mistake me for anything but a New Yorker.

But the San Francisco years are catching up. As far as numbers go, it recently occurred to me that I have lived in this house longer than I've lived in any one place. And while in San Francisco I am still considered a New Yorker--in New York I often feel very much a San Franciscan.

Two years ago, in a blog post titled State of Origin, I wrote:
Am I a New Yorker or am I a San Franciscan? I suppose I can be both. But I'm still not sure what to answer when asked, "Where are you from??"
I look at that now, and wonder if the better question would be, "Where were you formed?" The answer would still include both, but with the ratio changing as the years go by, my 'formation' is in flux.

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