The short version: It takes a little bit of moxie and a lot of rope.
And now, the Long version: Finally, the time had come. After two months at home, I had to pick up the truck, load it, and set off to the wilderness of central PA. I was apprehensive, to say the least. This would be the second major move of my life, the farthest away from home I’d even been (with the exception of a summer study abroad). I didn’t feel particularly “ready,” but I doubt I ever would have felt that way. The change was imminent, whether I liked it or not.
Despite the evident anxiety, part of me was relieved. As I anticipated, I was back in a routine that wasn’t good for me; too much drinking, not enough healthy living. It’s not that I want to completely leave that part of me behind, exactly… Gainesville is a wonderful place, with wonderful people, and I will never believe otherwise. But it’s also a kind of Neverneverland. You float on in a happy bubble of Sunday Fundays and nightly pool crashing, the accompanying white noise the crush of a beer can or the clink of a bottle as it jostles around in your messenger bag. I don’t have the liver, the metabolism, or the psychological stamina for it, and part of me is thankful for that. As much as I love my time at home, I also waste too much time, too much of myself there.
Well…. it wasn’t all wasted….
Anyways, I tried to stay awake through my last night, since Ed and I were headed out bright and early. I didn’t make it, and fell into a fitful sleep at 2 am… awakening with a panicked start at 6. I had one last hour. It wasn’t enough time. It wasn’t enough… but then it never would be, because it never is. Not when you must pull away from your home, and your family, and your friends… and those who occupy that exciting, and exhilarating, and precarious place between friend and more.
The final embrace, the first time Ed hit the gas, the first turn onto the highway…. all those moments came and went with sudden, painful pulls deep in my rib cage, the dual sadness of loss and the encroaching fear of the unknown. I struggled the first leg of the trip, trying to stay upbeat and positive as Ed and I navigated through a plethora of topics, our conversation bouncing back and forth as it does when best friends are left in sweet solitude to their own dialogic devices.
In totality the drive was beautiful, and fun, and eventful. I was nervous about driving, not so much about the size of the truck itself, but the size of the truck with Greta attached, via a shoddy tow dolly. I kept looking in the rear view mirrors, utterly paranoid that the next time I checked, there just wouldn’t be a car there anymore. Before we even got out of Florida we were accosted by a horn blast and a trucker in the lane next to us, gesticulating wildly. We pulled over, to discover the pin holding in one of the metal ramps to the dolly was gone and the ramp grated against the asphalt….. and in comes the rope I mentioned earlier:
Surprisingly, that held strong for the rest of the trip.
We rolled in to Lewisburg around 4 p.m. on July 4th. Amidst the sporadic bursts of firecrackers (which never failed to startle me), we unloaded the truck, hit Target for the essentials, and celebrated the holiday at the closest open bar, as only we Gainesvillians can. The night ended with Community, eating eggs and sausage out of the one clean pan we could find, the stretch of open windows in my living room keeping us connected to the drunken revelry below (reminded me of home right away! I could have been outside of Loosey’s or Boca).
The next day I dropped Ed off at the airport… and continued on solo….
It’s been about two weeks now. I love the job, but my bank account is suffering greatly without a second means of income. I’ve been applying for additional work, but this being a college town, business in the summer slows, so I may not find anything until classes start again… oof… my wallet, it burns!
Aside from the stress associated with my hazardous financial situation, I’ve managed to build a relatively healthy routine. I don’t drink during the week, and I’m working out regularly. I’ve lost 5 lbs already! (Thank goodness, because holy GOD I was a lil’ chunkster when I left; yet another downside to the party-girl lifestyle I indulge in at home). I’ve got some social plans arranged over the next few weekends, which I’m thankful for. This is the second weekend I’ve had to myself. I can’t spend money (duh), which trickles down and creates problems with my normal, tried-and-true people-meeting techniques… well… my main people-meeting technique: bars. As a result, I’ve been very reclusive when I’m not at work.
Two years ago, this scenario would make me an anxious mess, battling crippling panic attacks, popping medication like tic tacs in a futile effort to cope…. this time… I’m still lonely, but for some reason I’m also not as interested in forging new ties. I’ve been trying to articulate why I feel the way I feel, trying to understand why I’m actively isolating myself. I think there’s a few reasons, which seem to converge around the lifestyle I want to lead, versus the lifestyle I usually end up with…. the same old tune I always sing, about wanting to drink less, mostly. I guess I’m hoping I can build new relationships that aren’t centered around that insidious activity…
Even that explanation though, seems incomplete…. I’m still depressed…. but it’s not over the whole picture. Like I said, the job is great; it’s a pivotal puzzle piece for my future. I’m confident that I’ll learn a lot, and it will prove a huge growth in my career aspirations and professional confidence. Perhaps what I’m struggling with is coming to terms with the way my life is, at 29, and how it differs from the way I imagined it when I was younger…. bear with me for a second, ok?
…so, I was on Pinterest the other day, absent-mindedly looking over the boards I had, when I came one that I’m sure is nearly ubiquitous to every female on this interface: the future wedding board (mine happens to be called, ‘One day…’). I must have started it years ago, because as I perused it, I saw subtle changes occur in my taste. Not that surprising, when I considered the board’s age. That small variance, though, stuck with me through the rest of the day. I thought about how (maybe this is too pessimistic, but somehow I don’t think so), that life event may have passed me by. At least, the way in which I first envisioned it. If I ever do get married, it will never be how a younger me pictured it, because that time has simply passed. Things change as you grow older; things you used to like no longer retain that same shimmer of appeal. Activities, people, even cocktails you once adored fade in fascination. These changes are necessary and inevitable, of course, and some of them I gladly dismiss as they pass into memory. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve missed out on some of these rites of passage, and I’ll never have that opportunity again, because time, at least as we conceive of it now, is linear. There’s no way to move but forward, and that constant affects every aspect of your life, whether you want it to or not.
That sentiment gives me comfort sometimes, especially when I think about the choices I’ve made regarding my career. I’ve been ambitious, to a degree, and it seems to be paying off (in experience and opportunity, if not in greenbacks yet, haha). My family is proud of me, and I’m proud of me, too. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for certain aspects of my personal life. I know I sound like a broken record; I’m sure several of you roll your eyes, thinking, “oy, not this sob story again. We get it, you’re lonely.” Well, you naysayers can just deal with it, because this is my soapbox and I’ll say what I damn well please.
Anyway, in a roundabout way, what I’m trying to convey, is that my depression probably stems from the very fact that I’m choosing to isolate myself. Historically, I would be obsessed with finding the next guy to fill that emotional void, which is no good, I know. Now, it’s as if I’ve resigned myself to the seclusion. And that resignation is what depresses me. It feels like I’m giving up, like I’ve finally dropped the romantic ideal that I’ve clung to for so long, that he’s out there. That my *best* best friend exists. That timing doesn’t matter; if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I’ve lost my faith in those meaningless platitudes. Timing is shit. Timing sucks, and I don’t inherently trust that he exists anymore. Even if he does, I’m so jaded, and I’m so distrusting of my intuition now, that I probably wouldn’t even recognize him if he was standing right in front of me. So, instead of putting myself through yet another heartbreak, I’m trying to just… focus on other things… but see, that’s what depresses me, if that makes sense. I’m depressed because I’ve lost that idealistic aspect of my personality, that innate trust in the universe, that it will give me what I desire if I’m a good enough person, if I try hard enough, if I trust, and continue to hope. Time is linear, right? I’ve shed the skin of that optimistic young girl. She’s quickly fading into memory. The pragmatic me that has taken her place has decided, apparently, that staying in and watching Downton Abbey, a peppermint tea by my side, is as good as it’s gonna get, and I might as well get used to it.
Hahahaha. I’m re-reading this, and I have to say sorry, gentle readers. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer as fuck right now. But these are the thoughts I’ve been mulling over lately. I promise, next time, I’ll post beautiful pics of my new ‘hood (because silver lining, it is actually quite beautiful).
Current Jam: I finally started listening to the new Death Cab album, which I am now obsessed with. Combo of “Little Wanderer” and “Good help (is hard to find)”