Quick Thoughts: Today.

Remember the feeling before the first day of school? It’s a rush of anxiety and eager anticipation; it’s seeing all your friends and making new ones but it’s also hard work for the next few months. Part of you wants to throw up while the other part of you can’t wait to get started. It’s the fear of the unknown: what will my schedule be like? Will I have classes with friends? Will the teacher like me? Will I be enough?

Remember the feeling before your first day at a real job? It’s elation that you’re joining the real world and a terrified anxiety that this is it; you’ve entered the adult world and the rest of your life is the 9-5 that you’ve been training your whole life to enter. There’s a sense of wonder in finding a way to take care of yourself as an adult and a sense of dread that afternoon naps are a thing of the past, maybe forever. It’s the fear of the future: did I choose the right path? Did I choose the right place to grow? Will my coworkers like me? Will I be enough?

Today. Today is the day where I’m going back to school and I’m taking that step to start a real job all over again. I’m reverting back to the five-year-old LB, who ascended the bus to kindergarten holding tight to her twinster’s hand, lest she fall down the stairs or worse, cry. I’m reverting back to the 22-year-old LB, who descended the subway steps to her first job, holding tightly to her purse and her emotions, lest she lose the subway pass that was about to become a lifeline, or worse, cry. I’m reverting, in a sense, back to 25-year-old LB, who rolled out a yoga mat she purchased at Walmart over Easter weekend and flipped to a random YouTube video thinking she’d give this yoga a try.

But I’m also not reverting to any of those things, at all. Because in reliving all of the emotions before I take the first step into my yoga teacher training program tonight and watching as the cogs of change I’ve set in motion begin the slow turn to the rest of the year, I’ve felt a sense of calm and purpose. This is what I’m meant to be doing; this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I am ready enough. I am studied enough. I am determined enough.

I am enough.

I am.

Chronicle Q&A

Thank you to everyone that texted, emailed and otherwise asked questions after my adorably written plea for material. Since I said all of the sappy stuff yesterday on the real anniversary, let’s just get straight to the inquisition! From my heart and my keyboard to your screen, I hope you enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at my Chronicle of a 20-whatever,

Q: What made you decide to start a blog?
A: This is a difficult question to answer, because honestly I’ve always had some form of a blog. I had a Livejournal in high school (it was 2004, everyone did it), a blogger site in the early city years, even another public blog for about 6 months in 2013. I also have a personal journal I’ve been writing in since 2008. I’ve always felt compelled to write; writing calms me down and makes me feel like I understand what’s going on around me, even though that’s almost definitely never true.

What made me decide to start this blog was realizing that I was getting myself into all of these hilarious and absurd situations, and going through all of these growing pains and all of this emotional turmoil, simply trying to navigate the city as a mid-20s single person. For a really long time it felt like a terrible and shameful thing that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but then I noticed I was having a freaking BLAST at life and I didn’t care that I was bad at it. Apparently sucking at life is a part of your 20s, so why not share my struggles with people going through the same thing?

My goals have always been to overshare as much as possible while still knowing that family and coworkers read this; and to put out posts that are relatable to anyone, whether you’re single in your 20s, married in your 30s, or my grandmother, who’s almost 90 but still tells me all the time how much she loves the blog. Even though tbh she can’t work a computer and has probably never seen this before (If I’m wrong, hi Meems!).

Q: How do your friends feel about being included in your stories?
A: Great question. They hate it.

Just kidding! I think. I hope? In all seriousness, no one has complained, to me at least. Do they love being included in my Friendly Conversations round-ups or my expert recapping of our Epic Sunday Funday PLDs? Probably not. But they all read and love the stories, with a high-five and a shout-out to R, H and C, who are unquestionably my biggest fans and the instigators and/or bystanders for most of my best material.

That said, my goal in writing all this is to make sure things stay focused on me, because at the end of the day, it’s not a blog about anyone else. I’m not speculating on my friend’s relationships or how they feel when I show up late somewhere (again) or forget plans (again) or embarrass them in public (again). With that distinction, I think if you look at the blog from a big picture perspective, all of my stories that involve friends are meant to celebrate the role the Nickname Posse plays in my life. They’re the tough love-givers, the ones who pop a dream bubble that they can see turning into a nightmare, the ones that hold my hair back when I’m throwing up in the street (I mean what? that never happened) and the ones who hold me back when I’m about to do something I’ll regret. They’re the most important people in my life, and my Chronicle doesn’t exist without them.

So do they love it all the time? Probably not, but at least on their side, the good far outweighs the embarrassing.

Q: What are the best and worst parts about having a blog?
A: Honestly, the worst part about having a blog is, in fact, having a blog. I very naively did not think ahead and realize how much writing and moderating would penetrate my daily life. When I first started putting the site together, I was at a job which didn’t keep me too busy, plus I hadn’t settled into single life, plus I thought I had a lot to say. So the first few weeks, I wrote a lot of content in between tasks at work, and assumed it would always be that easy. Pro tip: THAT IS FALSE. Keeping up with the blog, in terms of inspiration for posts, writing said posts in a coherent way, and then editing them to be blog-ready, is really freaking hard. I’m more than a little surprised I’ve been able to keep it up for this long, given my track record.

Having said that, the best part about having a blog is having a blog. I love having a place to share all my opinions and musings and tales from weekend PLDs. I love writing and having people respond. I love hearing from people who really connect with something I’ve put out there, especially when I’ve wrestled with whether to share that information. I love friends referencing the blog in daily conversations and I love that they support this crazy space no matter what. I hope I can keep it up in the years to come.

Q: You seem to have some really pointed references in some of the posts. Are those meant for particular people? 
A: I can’t pull out any examples here without outing people, so I have to dance around this a little bit. I won’t admit to posting content specifically for a person, but I will say this much: every word on this blog is deliberate. If you read something and think, “Hm, that’s oddly specific. I wonder if it’s meant for someone…” the answer is probably yes.

Q: Can you reveal any of the cryptic hints/secrets from posts in the past?
A: Fair follow-up. I try not to be cryptic when it comes to things that affect me directly, and only me, but if I’m referencing someone else who (a): hasn’t consented to the story being public, or (b): may not read the blog and know what’s up there, I try not to divulge too much. I can’t go into big secrets, like identities or anything, but I’ll divulge a few fun tidbits:

  • Here’s what really happened on the Weirdest Day Ever: My ex-boyfriend (the big one) requested to follow me on Instagram, a high school boyfriend sent me something on Facebook, my college boyfriend was apparently creeping on my LinkedIn profile, the guy that I’d recently met and really liked (despite his inconveniently living across the pond) sent me a text after a few days of silence, and then I heard from The Child for the first time since everything between us went down. That shit was seriously cray.
  • The infamous Dating Confessions and booty-call posts are in reference to the same person BUT he wasn’t involved in the weird day above.
  • The Crush and Rebound posts are also inspired by the same person, but he isn’t ANY of the guys above. (Though Confessions has a cameo in Rebound).
  • In the PLD Montage: Austin edition, I will admit that the “beard burn” quote was mine.
  • And just for fun: the commenter labeled “Dave” on the Sister Wives post is actually N. Which I knew, clearly. We also went out later that night for his birthday and he spilled the beans twice that it was him. Oh, hubs.

Q: Are the initials for the Nickname Posse their actual initials? Also, are yours really LB?
A: This is a surprisingly hard question to answer. Everyone’s initials are connected to their name, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s initials are their first name, or even last name. You’d be surprised how many friends I have with names that start with “M.”

But yes, my real initials are LB. LEB, in full.

Quick Thoughts: The Ride

I love, love roller coasters. I don’t care if they’re fast, slow, wooden, metal, upside-down, crazy steep, stand up, legs dangling, whatever, I will go on any ride at least once. There’s this familiar routine that happens while waiting in line for the ride, one I know to a science following years of chasing that adrenaline high. First you’re bouncing with anticipation as you make your way closer to the gate, counting the groups ahead and trying to figure out how long it’ll be until you’re up. Then right before you’re seated, the bouncing turns from a general excited into an anxious excited, like you know it’s really about to happen, until finally you’re seated and the anxious energy starts turning into adrenaline coursing through your whole body, a rush of all types of feelings before you’ve even left the platform.

There’s the click, click, click of the ride as it makes its way higher and higher up the first big drop, and all of a sudden you’re shaking from everything, the excitement, the anticipation, the adrenaline; the ride hasn’t even really taken off yet and you’re already flushed with crazy energy, sitting still yet surrounded by movement. This is the part I always remember in a good ride: the way it feels in that brief moment of limbo before plunging into the main event.

In a moment yesterday I experienced the waiting in line, the bouncing anxiety to receive something I knew was coming, the drop in my stomach when I heard the ping of my inbox. I buckled up for the click, click, click of walking to have a conversation I’d been practicing for weeks, and then with just a few words, the cart tipped over the peak of the hill and I flew, headfirst, laughing as the wind danced next to me, into the end of an era and the beginning of a great unknown.

None of that makes any sense, I realize. But fear not: all will be explained in due time, friends. In the meantime, let’s just say next week holds a lot of big milestones in this Chronicle.

Insomni-uuuuuugh

Right now it’s 3 in the morning, and I’ve been up for the past hour and a half. There’s no reason for my being so awake right now: I didn’t do anything crazy this weekend, aside from grocery shopping on Saturday night and a walk with my work buddy S on Sunday afternoon; I didn’t take any medicines that would disrupt my sleep pattern and frankly, I’m freaking tired. But for whatever reason, it’s 3 in the morning on Monday and I can’t fall back asleep. I may be a morning person, but this is clearly a little excessive. I mean, I rarely have insomnia like this. Restless sleep at times, sure, but I love sleeping, and I’m a crab if I haven’t gotten enough. So when things like this happen, I try to pinpoint what’s going on, either internally or externally, that’s clearly keeping my mind running fast away from sleep. That’s not always easy, as it frequently involves admitting a hard truth I’ve been trying to avoid for a period of time, but in this case, I know exactly what’s going on to keep me up.

There’s a tide of change in the air in my life right now, a long-coming shift away from something that hasn’t made me happy in, well, months. My lovely friend M and I were talking a lot about that this weekend, finding your own happiness in life. She made the point that our generation, the slightly-older millennials, aren’t just the self-important assholes the media wants us to be, living unemployed at home until our late twenties, begging our parents to pay our rent until we’ve “found ourselves.” Obviously those people exist, but for the people like M, like me, like most of our friends, we’re the generation that will find a way to work that makes us happy. We’re focused on our own well-being and standing out, making a name for ourselves doing something that no one else does, or at least doing something better than everyone else. Our generation is the one that will work in the corporate grind for however long until we’ve found a way to shape our lives in such a manner that we can wake up every day and not start grumbling immediately that it’s time to go back to the same old, same old.

There’s a comfort in the same old, same old. There’s a beauty in a routine, but an ugliness in doing what you’re “supposed to do,” in staying somewhere or with someone that hasn’t made you happy in months because it’s the “right thing to do.” I’ve gone through so many major changes in the past year, that I don’t even feel like the same person I was going into 2014. I look back on that girl and wonder that she was holding back so much of who I am now for so long, trying desperately to be someone that someone else wanted instead of embracing change and being who she wants to be. I had a moment recently where I was sitting with a decision to make, wrestling with it really, about whether to take a first step in making yet another big change after things finally seemed to be settling down. I went back and forth for a while, saying it was too soon, saying I didn’t even know if it was the right idea, trying to push myself back to enjoying the monotony that a part of my life had become. I finally stopped after two days of back-and-forth and just stared at myself in the mirror. “You’re not happy,” I told the confused girl looking back at me, “and you have the opportunity to do something better. How is this even a choice?”

It’s now 3:30 in the morning and I’m still wide awake. I’m waiting on the calm before the storm, the grace period that always precedes a a major shift in life. Who can say if the storm will be a spring shower or if it’ll mirror the snowpocolypse expected to hit New York this week; who can say if things will work out in such a manner that I look back a month from now and see another new person, one who has a smile on her face because she wants to, not because she’s forced to. There’s a lot of uncertainty going into this week, starting with a random night of insomnia. But I’m not going to concern myself with all of that quite yet. No, for right now, I’m going to shut down my computer, snuggle up with little miss a little closer, and hopefully, finally fall back asleep.

Half a Badass

For a period of about 10 weeks, between early August and late October, I spent a lot of time wondering what motivates us to do things we know are going to be painful. We push ourselves at the gym to run that extra mile, or hold that stretch for another five seconds, in spite of aching muscles, stilted breath and a soundtrack of “TAKE A BREAK” on repeat in our heads. We keep eating that particular spicy food, fried rice at Spice Market or a burrito bowl from Chipotle, despite watering eyes and the constant burning from the tip of our tongues to the back of our throats. We hold on to that tiny bit of hope, thinking maybe this time the phone buzzes, it’ll be the “long time no talk” message we swore we weren’t waiting to see. It’s like every time my partner-in-crime R convinces me it’s going to be a good idea to go back to Village Tavern – I know it’s going to end with me eating pizza at 3 a.m. with beer spilled down my dress, but there’s a part of me that knows despite the imminent pain the next morning, everything is going to be awesome.

About four weeks into the aforementioned 10 of contemplation, I had this weird feeling that the reason I spent those weeks pondering on pain wasn’t going to happen. Every time I talked about it with friends, every time I thought about it, every email exchange and every week that went by, I had this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that it wasn’t going to happen as planned. I knew it was going to happen eventually, but October 22 just didn’t feel right, and I couldn’t explain why. I shared this sentiment about five weeks into the 10 with my lovely friend M and my fashionista C, who laughed and told me I was just anxious, and it was going to be fine. So I kept thinking about pain, and how to prepare for pain when intuition is saying that it’s not going to happen as planned, but everything is going to be okay. When it came within 24 hours of the scheduled start time, I tried to breathe a sigh of relief, thinking it must have been nerves that had my mind running around with this idea that this major life event wasn’t going to happen. And then my phone rang, and just like that, everything changed.

So innocent on paper...

So innocent on paper… (Done by Mikhail Andersson at White Rabbit Tattoo, NYC)

Pain is a funny thing. No one wants to be in pain, whether physical or emotional, and there are some kinds of pain that make you wonder if it will ever go away. But with most pain also come strength. It’s pushing yourself into that last mile in a long run, dealing with the extra ten minutes of pain so you can spend the rest of the weekend elated you beat a personal record. It’s realizing after a while that you’ve stopped looking for that same number and the “long time no talk” message, and how nice it feels to know you’re moving on. On that fateful October day, I was in a different type of pain than expected, an emotional vulnerability that comes with dreaming of something for so long and having someone tell you to keep waiting. But I told myself the strength from an extra month of preparation would be worth it in the end, and at the end of the day, a month in the grand scheme of forever is barely a speck of dust on the radar. I felt stronger, having waited and anticipated longer, and by the night of November 24, fielding “good luck tomorrow!!” texts left and right and nearly working myself into a panic attack from high levels of excited and nervous energy, I felt like I could handle anything.

"This is going to be great" - me, five minute prior to start.

“This is going to be great” – me, five minutes prior to start.

On November 25, I walked into the same shop I’d entered back in March to meet with the same artist, M by my side and nervous excitement in my head. I saw the stencil on the page, even more beautiful than I’d expected, and I saw the stencil on my body, even larger than I’d expected, and I braced myself for pain that I really thought I could handle. After all, I’ve spent the past year dealing with everything from post-Spartan ankle injuries to a twice-broken heart. And this was a pain I’d experienced before – four times, in fact! “I can handle it,” I thought, as I laid on my side, arm over my head and M’s hand in mine for reassurance. I took a few deep breaths, settled in to the stiff position of my body, stuck in my headphones and gave the thumbs-up to the artist. And then, the whir of the tattoo machine started and I entered into a world of pain I have NEVER experienced.

The next four hours felt like post-Spartan, post-breakup, all job-related and all love-related pain combining to form a miniscule blip on the pain threshold. There were moments I didn’t think I could make it through, but I kept sitting, eyes closed, hand clenching M’s so tightly I’m surprised it didn’t fall off, because I knew it wouldn’t last forever, and it would be worth it. We took two ten-minute breaks, two hours in and then three hours in, and in each break my body would shake uncontrollably, coursing with too much adrenaline from the needles raking over thin skin and from all my excitement; it felt like going down the big drop in the roller coaster over and over until you can’t feel your body anymore. It was the best worst pain I had ever experienced, and walking up to the mirror after those four hours, I had never been so relieved, excited and fucking nervous all at the same time. I turned towards the mirror for the moment of truth, and in an instant, none of the pain mattered.

"This is beyond" - me, five minutes after. Tattoo by Mikhail Andersson at White Rabbit Tattoo

“This is beyond” – me, five minutes after. Tattoo by Mikhail Andersson at White Rabbit Tattoo

That’s the thing about pain, really. It makes you stronger when you least expect it to. It makes you understand your threshold, physically, emotionally, to handle anything. If I can sit through four hours of needles scratching the thin skin around my ribcage over and over again, who’s to say I can’t push myself into tittibhasana in yoga practice, or can’t stay an extra hour after work, regardless of how tired I am, to make sure everything is perfect? I feel like I can do anything after this, like I know my limits are so much farther than I’ve ever pushed them in the past. Our tattoo artist joked around when my anchor G was getting her rib piece back in July that to get a piece on the ribs makes you Half a Badass, which is promoted to full badass if you get a piece on your spine. I may never get to that level, so nervous am I just to go back and finish this piece next month, but I think for all of the pain I’ve experienced in recent days, half a badass is all good to me.

Anyone in the NYC area looking for ink, I seriously can’t say enough wonderful things about my artist and shop. You can find the artist on Instagram (@micleandersson) and his website (www.tattookarma.com), and the shop is White Rabbit Tattoo (www.whiterabbittattoostudio.com). 

IDGAF

“It’s hilarious. Once she stopped giving any fucks, everything started happening for her.”

The scene: happy hour with my dearest K at Essex, our favorite spot for half-priced drinks and a sassy Australian bartender, who has been serving K and me Grey Goose martinis and Bulleit rocks (respectively) for the past few years. We were chatting about one of his close friends, a girl I adore, who’d been in town that past weekend staying with him; the discussion had reached her recent reveal that she’s in the photos for the new Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett album artwork, and may go on tour with them in the next year. K said that to me in reference to the wild success of his wildly talented friend, and we laughed at the absurd truth of such a statement. It made me pause for a minute, though, and has been running on repeat in my mind since then: while drinking coffee, on the subway, in work meetings. Admittedly, part of it is wondering how many less fucks I’d need to give to be best friends with Taylor Swift so we can bake cookies and hang out with our cats forever, but on a larger scale, it’s an interesting concept for someone like me.

I’m the kind of person that gives a lot of fucks. Like, a lot. Almost all of them, really. It’s not that I get embarrassed easily (clearly), or I’m fraught with fear and anxiety in daily situations, but my personality is one that tends towards extremes, a pendulum swinging from listless to passionate, and in many situations I give way. too. many. fucks. Most of the time it’s over nonsense: I’ll see someone haphazardly glance at me on the subway and start caring about how everyone sees me: am I standing awkwardly? Is there something in my hair? Can everyone see how much I’m sweating right now? Am I in everyone’s way? Other times it’s at work, when I’m taking a few minutes to update a draft post here, or checking the news fine, Daily Mail, in between projects, and a boss walks by my cube: Did she see my screen? What if she thinks this is all I do? Is that side-eye intentional? Does she think I get my news from the Daily Mail? Don’t even get me started on how often I think “Is everyone around me thinking about how bad I am at this?” in yoga class, breaking concentration to give a fuck about what strangers think of my ass in Lululemon. It’s really silly to give that many fucks over situations that are generally created in my head, but really, that’s just how I’ve always been.

I don’t want to imply that giving a fuck is a bad thing, because it’s not. Most of the time, caring that much, giving that many fucks, is a great thing; it’s the part of my personality that feels things as deeply as I do, cares as much as I do, wants as much as I do. I give a fuck about my career, how much I wish the past few months had been more about learning and growing, and less about pulling myself out of the hole I dug while giving too many fucks about someone who didn’t give a fuck about me. I give a fuck about my friends, enough that they can do something I disagree with completely, and I’d still be the first one there any day of the week, with a bottle of wine and a shoulder to cry on, when things don’t go their way. But I give too many fucks about myself, and how things aren’t going the way that I thought they would, and I really give a fuck that I don’t know how to handle that.

The idea of letting go of the things that keep me chained to insecurities and anxieties is an intriguing one, something I’ve thought on before but never in this context. I’ve tried telling myself to “stay in the present,” and “focus on what you can control,” but nothing has resonated as deeply as “just stop giving that many fucks.” It feels like I’ve been shamelessly throwing around these thoughts and cares and worries, working my way around a big pile of IDGAF and not stopping for three seconds to figure out if it’s really worth wasting a finite level of Cares in favor of watching where something leads. If you take the assumed aggressive tone out of “I don’t give a fuck” and apply it to the little things, like what the cashier at Bravo thinks of me when I’m buying a 6-pack of pumpkin beer and cat food in pajamas on a Wednesday night, or what the guy at the bar who’s been eyeing me for a minute thinks of my Bulleit-fueled dance moves, it calls to mind a carefree abandon, a nod to unpredictability and a “fuck you” to all the minor insecurities. I’ll never be someone who can stop giving a fuck, never be someone who doesn’t pause for just a minute when debating things like what people will think of a public blog entry that’s filled with profanity. But I can be someone who can stop letting all of that dictate my days, weeks, months, years, save all the fucks I give for something important, and let everything else just Happen around me along the way.

(Just in case you were wondering: Fuck count: 20, or two minutes in a Tarantino movie).

Wait and See

“Okay so I’m not going to Red Hook anymore.
Do you want to day drink somewhere?
Wait we should go to Fort Tryon!! I’ll bring the wine!!
Or maybe let’s do your rooftop, I haven’t been to FiDi in forever!!
I’ll still bring the wine. Unless you want to bring the wine?
I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T HANDLE MYSELF.”

That is a quick snapshot of Gchats I rapid-fired at my fashionista C on Friday afternoon while discussing our weekend plans. Praise grilled cheesus she’s used to my stream-of-consciousness way of communicating, because the poor thing came back to her desk after maybe 4 minutes, only to see no less than 12 different chats from me trying to plan our Saturday. Up until Friday, it had been SEVEN. FULL. WEEKS. since I’d had a weekend where I could do whatever I wanted, and I legitimately could not handle the blissful, amazing, wonderful chance to choose my adventures for the next 72 hours. The initial weekend plan was simple: dinner at my favorite restaurant in the Meatpacking on Friday, followed by a lazy Saturday, and ending with a lazy Sunday. I anticipated lots of sleeping and cleaning, and lots of people-free time in my apartment. Instead, I spent the weekend in exclusively jumpsuits and rompers, going out two nights in a row with everyone I haven’t seen in weeks, definitely not cleaning and really definitely not sleeping.

Once I left the office on Friday, I met C for a quick drink at her place before heading across the street to my partner-in-crime R’s rooftop, where more drinks awaited with H the Scot and his brother. The night rapidly descended in to a blur of smiles and PLDs, daring H’s brother to eat the chili peppers at Spice Market, dancing in tall heels until I split one of my toenails and abusing the photo booth at Iron Horse, pictures of C, R and I laughing, laughing, laughing the whole time. I woke up on the floor of R and H’s place the next morning (oops) to find that H had accidentally thrown out my contacts, so I looked like a picture-perfect Saturday morning, as I desperately tried to find a cab home, practically blind and still in my heels. Upon arriving home, I quickly threw on a bathing suit, grabbed a hat and left again, back to C’s roof to meet up with the same group and soak up the sunshine I’d been missing in all my weekends running around. Public transit was not in my favor that day and in the almost 90 minutes it took to get from the Heights to FiDi, I found the invincible “I’m feeling okay!” mood from the morning was quickly turning into “everything in and around my body hurts and oh god please don’t let me throw up on this train.”

I assumed I’d be heading home after the rooftop for said cleaning/no-human time, but within a few minutes of my rooftop nap, I discovered there was a plan in place for that night: all of us were to meet up with my lovely friend M and her N for another round of dinner and West Village antics. Obviously I hadn’t brought more than a bathing suit with me and I was pretty sure the hangover from the night before wasn’t getting better – plus, I hadn’t been out out two nights in a row in I can’t even remember how long. I protested for a minute, playing the “I think I’m dying!” card, and “I have nothing to wear!,” but a few jibes from H’s brother convinced me to rally. Three hours later, after quick stop at Century 21, a nap on R’s couch while watching golf, and two very large containers of coconut water, I was at about 80 percent, enough to convince me I could do it. As the night descended into margaritas, Catchphrase and kamikazes, a pit stop at my lovely Village Tavern and a final round at Fiddlesticks, I was so happy that I didn’t want the night to end, the blur of shots and smiles and two perfect nights to welcome me back to the city. When I’d finally hit my limit of the sticky Fiddlesticks floors, I hopped in a car with M and N, drunk on a perfect weekend and that last Magic Hat, thrilled to be headed to my own bed for the first Saturday in almost two months.

The theme for the whole weekend, from the first drinks on Friday till I laid my tired and bruised self in bed on Sunday, was that much as it’s nice to understand and plan things, sometimes the best course of action is to wait and see. It’s nice to think ahead, know and anticipate certain futures, but whether you’re deciding something as immediate as where to go after getting kicked out of Village Tavern (which totally didn’t happen) or something as distant as where you might be in say, April, the future will be what it will be, and trying to plan ahead won’t always help. Now that the insanity of my summer has calmed down significantly, I’m looking ahead to a few months with only a few concrete plans, a veritable cornucopia of weekends where I can do whatever, whenever, and wherever I want.

First day of school!

Waking up on Tuesday, I thought I’d have knots in my stomach for hours. I just knew I wouldn’t be able to eat, I’d change clothes six times, I’d miss the subway and show up late, and then find out the past 3 weeks had been a dream. It was like the first day of school times adulthood, watching the minutes tick, tick away till it was time to start my Shiny New Job.

At times, it feels like there are very few things to get excited about in adult lives. We work, exercise, complain about getting older, drink, eat, sleep, repeat. There’s a beauty in the monotony, a familiar feeling on Monday that in the grand scheme of the coming week, we know what to expect. There can also be a complacence, a certain “This is how things are and will be” feeling in waking up to the same job, same days, all over again. For a really long time, I was content with the monotony, an understanding with myself that this was life as an adult: wake up, go to a job you like but don’t love, text the boyfriend who thinks you’re a burden, go back to the apartment you can’t fall in love with because it’s supposed to be temporary, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. It was a content life, and happy most of the time, which was, in a word, fine.

Life shouldn’t settle for “fine.” I’m in my mid-twenties, in an amazing city, surrounded by brilliant, driven, competitive, insightful people who came here to chase a dream, an idea, a goal. Who am I to allow myself to settle with feeling “fine”? How can you be content with a routine in the city that never sleeps? It was the break-up that started shaking that routine for me, like a crack in a concrete wall: CRACK now you need to learn how to be on your own for real, CRACK now you need to make your apartment look like home, CRRRRACK now you need to start taking care of yourself. Bits and pieces of this wall of monotony I’d built for myself in the past few years started falling everywhere and all at once, a wave of changes, one, another, another.

You were thinking it.

You were thinking it.

Change is scary, and hard, and no one really enjoys starting over. Walking into day three of the new job though, I’ve never felt more content in my choices and changes in the past few months. Looking back to this time last year, six months ago, even up to the breakup, its near surreal that I could have had this self-fulfillment, contentedness, whatever you want to call it; and yet I settled for “fine.”

I loved my life before – I loved the beautiful monotony: the understanding of what to expect as the days, weeks, months went by; the feeling that someone loved me, really loved me; the fact that I had a wonderful job, surrounded by wonderful people. But I wouldn’t change what’s happening for me now for anything: the understanding that I can’t control my surroundings and that’s exciting; the feeling that I can find love and peace within myself instead of needing another person; and the fact that I have a new job, which is challenging, and scary, and exactly what I need.