Now that I’m in rotation 2 of 3, obviously I’m a seasoned veteran.
But, one thing I’ve learned is moving is a predictable ebb and flow sort of process. The first month in a new place is marked by that saccharine feeling of everything being new. The gym, the job, the chick-fila down the street (wait, is that just me?)—all of those things are awesome just because they’re new.
Around the second month is when reality (also known as homesickness) sets in. This is the time when it goes from “Everything here is awesome!” to “Oh, wait…I actually have to make a life here for the next seven months.” What’s interesting now, however, is that I don’t actually miss home (as in Maryland). In fact, that seems sort of like a foreign concept. Now, I miss the East Coast. Fast pace. Rude people. All of that.
So, last night as I drowned my nostalgic sorrows in buffalo wings and breadsticks courtesy of Pizza Hut, I realized this journey often times leaves us without any touch points. I’m now in a place where I don’t necessarily fit in, yet I now feel so disconnected from a lot of the people and places I grew up with. (I ended that sentence with a preposition. But, I’m not sure how else to end it. Oops.)
In some ways, moving is like love. Only the people actually experiencing it know what the hell is going on. They can describe it to others and other people will punctuate those descriptions with smiles or frowns or questions. But, ultimately, only the people living through the experience will know and understand fully the triumphs and challenges associated with it.
So, I’m kind of an emotional (and physical) nomad, plopped down somewhere and left to sift through the pieces myself. I guess I have to become my own touch point.
One of the quotes I live by is something I stumbled upon a year ago on the cusp of college graduation while reading Ellyn Spragins, “What I Know Now About Success: Letters from Extraordinary Women to Their Younger Selves.” It’s the letter author Suzy Welch writes to herself at age 23 as a reporter for the Miami Herald.
“Look, every journey—every daring leap we make—has its tough patches. Its hours of loneliness, its days and nights of doubts. Every journey takes you outside your comfort zone and away from what is familiar—if it is a journey worth taking.”
American cinema has absolutely failed us.
Growing up and watching movies, I was under the impression that when I became an adult, I would one day casually stroll through the produce section for my week’s groceries and reach for that perfect head of lettuce at the same time as a striking gentleman. We would laugh, he would offer me the lettuce, we’d begin speaking, and then ride off into matrimonial bliss.
I may be romanticizing this a bit.
The point is, I grew up believing meeting your husband or boyfriend (or even just your next bang buddy) was as simple as going to the grocery store. I grew up believing we are presented with endless random opportunities to meet someone.
And, almost a year of adulthood has taught me that is the biggest load of manure I’ve ever heard in my life.
I’m sure there’s some percentage of couples out there who met by doing their typical daily activities—going to the gym or walking the dog. But, most days at the gym, I sweat my life away on the bike without even acknowledging the person next to me. Not really opening myself up to a hottie at that moment I guess.
Nowadays we’re inundated by Meetup, Match, and 100 other ready made recipes for a successful dating life. We’re taught not to obsess about dating but 1) the only people who ever say that are the ones in relationships so I think we should just tell them all to go kick rocks and 2) it seems the more we try not to obsess, the more we do.
So, here’s what I think they (whoever they are) should tell you: part of being an adult is being comfortable being alone. And, I really don’t think that’s a single girl’s cope out. I think the people in this world, single or in relationships, who are the most happy and healthy are the ones who are OK spending an evening or a day or even an entire weekend by themselves. I don’t advocate total isolation. But, there will come a time when you have to be by yourself. (OMG SO SCARY.) And, the sooner we learn how to be happy putting on some headphones and rocking out to Gym Class Heroes by ourselves (maybe I did that last night, maybe I didn’t…), the sooner we (this includes me…hence the collective pronoun) can all stop obsessing over not having that perfect person just yet.
So, it’s here. My last week in Massachusetts.
I could write a saga about my many ups and downs here, but I think it would be more fitting (and quite frankly a lot less work) to pick 8 quotes that I think embody the time I’ve spent here.
1) “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” -Neale Donald Walsch
2) Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming.- from 11 Things to Know at 25 (ish)
3) Unravel the knots that keep you from living a healthy, whole life, and do it now, before any more time passes.- also from 11 Things to Know at 25 (ish)
4) “No one leaves this life unscathed.”- Katie Couric
5) “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” -Oscar Wilde
6) “I know you’re smart. But everyone here is smart. Smart isn’t enough. The kind of people I want on my research team are those who will help everyone feel happy to be here. ” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
7) “I have just returned from Boston. It is the only sane thing to do if you find yourself up there.” -Fred Allen
8) “Leaving is bittersweet but after 8 tumultuous months, I’m leaving here in peace. That’s all I wanted.” -my tweet from earlier today.
So, I’m now down to less than 2 weeks left in the Greater Boston area. My first 8 months away from my home and my collegiate bubble have been challenging, exciting, and unpredictable. But, through it all, I have had some pretty good times here. So, because I don’t understand much about the current Superbowl game on my television other than a touchdown, I’ve decided to blog about some of my highlights here in Massachusetts.
- My sister’s visit in October: We lucked out and had thee most gorgeous weather I’ve ever seen which made for lunch outside on Newbury street, a copious amount of shopping, and a duck tour (check it off the Boston bucket list!)
- My best friend’s visit in August: It all happened in about a 24-hour time span, but we somehow managed to shop, drink margaritas, and dance the night away. It was the first time I saw her since I left our apartment at school many months ago, but with us, it was like I never left.
- Chaundra’s BBQ: I had only been living here for about a month and I was hitting that super homesick point. I went to a BBQ where I knew absolutely no one and ended up meeting a cast of characters, many of whom became important during my time here. It was the first time I really felt like myself since I got here and it felt wonderful.
- Celtics game w/ dad and my cast of coworker homies: The game was a blowout, but there aren’t many other chances to dougie with your dad. Nough said.
- Holiday happy hour w/ the coworker homies: Everyone was happy and on that holiday high. It was one of those nights where I said I would leave at 8 and all of a sudden, it was 11pm. Those are the best.
- Getting Roxy: It was a Friday afternoon during the summer and…again…I was super homesick. So, I decided to adopt a 7 lb furry creature who has since made my apartment a more interesting and loveable place to live.
- Wale concert on Halloween: Acted out at Wale and then flew home the next day for Jay-Z/Kanye. I got to be a fake rock star for a few days. Nice.
I am ready for a whole new set of adventures in Texas. But, I am not as ready to leave this place as I thought I would be. I’ve made friends, I’ve made memories, I’ve made an entire life. But, I guess in 11 days, it will be time for a new life in a new place…all crammed into 8 months.
Long distance relationships are difficult.
Oh, you think I’m going to write about love, don’t you? You think I’m going to recount some terrible experience of dating some guy who lived in some terribly far location resulting in a terrible breakup.
Nah, that was 2010. Get with it.
(And, as a note—I’m not really a proponent of LDRs simply because scientists and computer engineers have yet to find a way to make that very special activity happen without two people being in the same room. But, I digress.)
Today I was talking to my best friend in the whole wide world about moving, a recurrent topic these days. We both seeemed to agree that establishing a life away from our roots, and possibly even away from the east coast, is a good thing. Scratch that. Great thing. Then, I said one of those “Oh, I’m going to have to blog about this later” sentences.
“Being away from home hasn’t ruined any of my relationships. In fact, it’s probably made them better.”
And, there it is. Not being geographically close to your “tribe” as I call it (the people, friends and/or family, whom you love an insane amount) can be challenging to say the least. But, being away also means less fighting over the trivial stuff (because who really wants to try and solve a blowout via phone? yikes) and more appreciation for the conversations, texts, birthday cards, emails, gchats, skype sessions, and rare visits. Being away means making an effort instead of just letting the 10 feet between you and your best friend’s bedroom in the same apartment do all of the work. Being away forces you to very quickly realize who are your real friends and who were the people who were just your friends because you happened to live in the same apartment complex or have the same class together.
Distance won’t ever solve that issue of the lack of Bmore club music dance sessions in my life now that I live 8 hours away from my best friend (soon to be an entire DAY away. whoa.) But, in the end, I’d trade those spurts of fun for the stronger bonds I have with my peeps.
Last April, on my former blog, I wrote “A Single Girl’s Manifesto.” I would link to it here but then I’d have to kill you.
I was just reading the entry and I realized how much has changed since that time. Today, between beginning to read Hill Harper’s The Conversation: How Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships and weeping far more than the appropriate cinema cry amount while watching One Day, I’ve been thinking about relationships and my lack thereof.
Looking back on the entry from April, I realize how much of it I no longer agree with and how inaccurate it was considering I was breaking bread with someone at the time. Sure I was “single” but it was more like “single with a side of FWB.” But, that’s neither here nor there. Now, at least for the past three months, I have been seriously single. Like seriously. Like Saturday-night-watching-movies-on-demand single. Yeah, you get it.
This blog is about adulthood and, well, relationships are a part of that. So, I’ve decided it’s time to rewrite my single girl’s manifesto, stealing a few lines from the original. Here goes nothing.
Somewhere in between graduation and entering the world of work, bills and grocery shopping (better known as adulthood), it clicked: single has some stigmas. Now, getting on Facebook is synonymous with watching Four Weddings, complete with photos of engagement rings and relationship statuses changing from “in a relationship” to “engaged” at warp speed.
You need a +1 for work functions. You need something to do on Friday night other than watch reruns of House Hunters until you fall asleep. You need a valentine, a New Year’s kiss, and a second home to go to on holidays.
Or, do you?
We’re inundated with relationship rhetoric 24/7. It’s going to rain if Bruno Mars’ loses his baby. Someone finally put Beyonce’s love on top (and what does that mean? Is it physically on top of something? Is it a priority? Oh, I digress.) Carrie’s chasing Big around NYC and Kim Kardashian’s even more famous because of a 72-day marriage. From the music we listen to and the shows we watch to the conversations we have with friends and the books we read, relationships are an everyday part of our lives.
There isn’t a science to being single. It’s simple. To quote the beautiful Eva Mendes in Hitch, “You’re not sick; you’re single.” So, this is the part where I’m supposed to bash relationships and say it’s totally OK if you never find the love of your life. Except that’s a bold faced lie and my mom raised me better than that. I guess the trick, or my trick, to being single is to enjoy it for as long as it lasts. And enjoying it requires two things: knowing yourself and liking yourself. Because I believe then, and only then, will you attract the type of love that will make you senselessly, unreasonably, and unequivocally happy. And, that’s the only type of happy that any human being deserves.
So, yes, I am single. I won’t obsess over it any more than someone in a relationship should obsess over a significant other. Yes, I am single. My cat is curled up next to me as I write and I am in my night shirt from Forever 21. I reserve Sunday mornings for sleeping in, making breakfast, and watching Golden Girls on the Hallmark channel. Yes, I am single. I enjoy eating weird snacks at night such as pepperoni with shredded cheese. I sometimes have private dance concerts in the middle of my living room or pretend to be Wale. I don’t cuddle; I sleep. Like normal human beings. I don’t want your arm wrapped around me while I try to get into REM mode because my body is 98.6 degrees and your body is 98.6 degrees and, let’s face it: 197.2 degrees is just too hot and sweaty.
Yes, I am single. Not to be confused with sad or cynical. I’ve just come to realize that knowing me and liking me is the first step. Because, when the big man decides I’ve gotten that right, I still believe he will bring ferocious and earth-shattering love into my life. I still believe in one life with one person. Yes, I am single. But, the most important thing is that I still believe.
Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie obsesses over who her “plus one” is going to be to her book party?
I never really knew that pressure was real…until I became an adult.
I’ve been invited to a few events where I could bring someone. Apparently whom you opt to bring to something is a big deal. I’m finding out that there are a few options, all of which have a stigma attached to them.
1) Your significant other: This is the obvious choice. This is what people expect. If you bring a signifcant other, it’s evidence that you have a life and aren’t potentially a sociopath outside of work.
2) A girl friend: Another good and respectable choice. You’ll have fun and you can go out after and drink adult beverages. Double the fun.
3) A family member: This will solicit a few “awws” from your fellow attendees. But, it’s also a safe bet (given it’s a family member you like and not someone who makes your skin want to explode into a thousand burning flames).
4) A “friend”: Ok, so you’re single. But you still want to seem cool. You don’t want your co-workers to think all you do on the weekends is watch Oprah’s Lifeclass on demand (of course I’ve never done that…) So, you bring a friend of the opposite sex. Not someone you’re dating seriously. Just a friend. This is the risky choice. Because you could then be subjected to an awkward night and “after party” shall we say.
So many stigmas! So many things to consider! Oh me, oh my!
Except…that’s a lie.
In the end, you bring someone who meets 2 pieces of criteria: 1) You’re going to have an amazing time with that person. 2) That person is going to appreciate it. Don’t bring people around who won’t say thank you or will bemoan the experience. Cause that sounds more like a -1 to me.
Happy 2012 and all that jazz.
While talking to a friend today, I listed off what I feel are the 5 types of people I know in post grad life. No need for further introduction; here it goes.
1) The Scholars: Why only stay in college for 4 years when you can extend it…with grad school! These are the people who either legitmately need an advanced degree to do what they want to do (in which case, props to you) or the people who couldn’t find a job and wanted to sound like they were doing something respectable.
2) The Overachievers: You know that kid who whined about getting an 89.5% on a test? Hate to say it, but that same kid is probably working at a decent job right now. These were the people who could’ve used a few more party nights and a few less study sessions, but their hard work probably paid off.
3) The Loafs: Definition—opposite of the overachievers. These are the people who thought they would be in college forever. They didn’t plan for what happens after those four years and are now scratching their heads having no idea what’s next nor how to get to it even if they tried. Instead, they would rather relive their college glory days.
4) The Underdogs: This a subcategory of the overachievers. These are the people who kicked butt in college but the recession is just being merciless at the moment.
5) The Trust Fund Babies: Ah, my favorite. These are the people who, regardless of what they did in undergrad, are living the life right now. They’re traveling the world, working at those cool jobs in expensive cities, and are finding the self they lost in all those Tequila shots in college. And, they are doing all of this on their parents dime. You want to hate the trust fund babies. You want to say, “One day real life is going to set in for them.” But, let’s be real…they’ll be living off of that money while the rest of us slave away.
Despite the differences among these groups, there’s one similarity. We’re all probably in some sort of post grad rut. We all miss the days when Sallie Mae wasn’t eating our checking account and when we used Sundays for sleeping instead of grocery shopping. In the end, we’re all still figuring it out.
Today (or should I say yesterday now that it is 7 minutes past midnight) marked exactly 6 months at my job. For some people, 6 months is nothing but to those people I say, have you heard about the economy? Oh, every day is a celebration, honey.
And, what better way to celebrate than to write? So, here are 6 lessons from 6 roller coaster months of work.
1) Money is not everything. It keeps a roof over your head and a mediocre bottle of wine on your counter. It covers the fundamentals. But, it doesn’t hold you when you cry, listen to you after a terrible day, or fix the problems you have with yourself and with this life.
2) Some things will never change. Just accept it. You can’t always be the corporate Gandhi.
3) You’re only in competition with yourself. To think anything else will only unnecessarily give you premature heart palpitations.
4) Two types of people rarely advance in work: the yes man and the complainer. Gotta find a balance between the two. Losing your own voice will only screw you over in the end.
5) Everyone has some sort of wisdom to impart. The challenge is being patient enough to sort through all of the manure and find it.
6) People are people. They are not numbers, stats, quotas, or robots. They are people. To think anything less is a detriment to those you work with and, mostly, to yourself. So, allow room for the bad days, tears, freakouts, and things that should never be said or done. Cause, chances are, you’ll do those same things and only hope and pray that someone still allows room for you.
And, that’s all I know for now.