I literally grew up looking at Philadelphia’s skyline.
Granted, it was on the television. One of the local news affiliates, the one my parents preferred, had a window out on the buildings beyond. At least, I think it was a window. These were the days before green-screen was really a thing, so it was either a window or a very well-done matte painting. I remember the lights on the PSFS building flickering, though, so I think it was a window. Or maybe a screen? Regardless, I grew up looking at that.
There’s always been an allure to the city, the pulse, the teeming masses. I’ve visited New York, walked around Chicago, gotten to know Baltimore and Boston and Pittsburgh. The only city that’s made me feel more at home than Philadelphia does is Seattle. And in Philadelphia’s case, it’s familiarity. It’s proximity. It’s been home.
I know it won’t be home forever. And when I see that skyline lit up, I think of the places I’ve been within the city, the people I’ve met, beers I’ve sampled and pretzels I’ve scarfed, games I’ve played and sights I’ve seen… and yeah, I’m going to miss it.
Sure, it’s imperfect. I’m nowhere near the level of committed to its sports teams that will keep me following every move they make. I was huge into the Phillies when I was a kid, and I own a t-shirt with Mike Schmidt’s number on it, but I’m not one for the NFL or NBA, my interest in other sports has somewhat waned, and I’m a little afraid that wearing my Union blue and gold outside of Philadelphia in another stadium might incur physical harm. I’ll have to try and take in a Union game before the summer ends. Those are good times.
Philly will always have problems with crime. What city doesn’t? Get enough human beings gathered together in one place, and some will be more desperate than others. I’m not saying it’s okay or totally safe or anything, I’m just saying that a city should not be avoided because you might get hurt in it. You might get hurt walking out of Wal-Mart in the suburbs. Or cleaning your gun in your bunker. You could slip in the shower, choke on your breakfast, eat a bad taco. You can’t let fear hold you back.
I remind myself of that, too. As much as I’ll miss Philadelphia, I can’t let that feeling keep me from doing what I have to do to take the next step in my life. As good as it feels to see the skyline of Philadelphia emerge from around the hills as I drive in (that’s another thing, the traffic sucks), I need to put that skyline in my rearview mirror eventually and for good. We can’t stay where we are forever. We have to keep evolving.
I will never forget everything Philadelphia helped me do and be and create.
But soon, the City of Brothery Love will be a memory.