[This is stamped on the sidewalk outside Whole Foods on Bowery. I always loved walking over it so I snapped a pic on my last trip there ;)]Do you ever feel that ? Like things are too good to be true for you, even with all the imperfections and bumps in the road ? I had dinner with two friends that I adore shortly before I left New York. After dinner we walked back to their apartment for dessert and found ourselves talking about the very tough transition that is your early twenties—something I’ve hashed and rehashed many times: The difficulty in leaving your college bubble where you’re coddled, told what to do, and left to play most of the time. The difficulty knowing where you should be living and working and why. The difficulty in knowing your general place in the world. The difficulty in figuring out how to function as an adult while contributing to society in some positive way. Anxiety is the only way I can describe it. Sometimes I think I took the difficulty of this transition as a heavier load than many—not because I’m dramatic, but because I over think to a fault. Don’t get me wrong, when I think about my early days in New York I can point to a lot of fun times with my friends and family, but I can also point to a lot of unexplained tears, jobs I didn’t like and an inability to articulate what was wrong. I went through I period where I thought my hair was falling out from stress and it was this age that I started grinding my teeth and acquired a night guard. Of course this is all relative. I never forgot how lucky I was to have my health, my friends and family, a roof over my head (and a West Village roof at that) and many other blessings. But that didn’t stop my confusion, searching or teeth grinding. It’s funny too—when you’re in it, you don’t really know it. And then as each year passed I’d look back and say “man—that year was tough because of X,” not really realizing I was still in it.
At 29 I think I can safely say I’m out of it. While difficult for other reasons, the last two years the dust began to settle. I realized more of who I was with every affirmation in both creative work and my friendships. As those around me found themselves as well, I began to hear their voices more clearly—you tell your friends they are your friends and that you love them more, you compliment hard work and accomplishments more genuinely, and you reach out in ways you couldn’t have four years prior. It’s an age where people relax in their skin, and as a result good things are happening all around me, and all of these good fortunes and achievements are well supported. I left a wedding last weekend and it felt as though everyone I said goodbye to I was wishing good luck on a new job, a move, a baby, an upcoming wedding. At 29, people are moving + shaking, they know who they are.
At first when I started the process of moving I thought I was overwhelmed with gratitude because people where saying goodbye to me. This morning I was reading an email from a dear friend thanking me for a note in her baby book and it occurred to me how much greater the scope of the love I’ve been feeling is, than a simple move two states away. I used to think people were selfish in their early twenties. I can see now it’s just an intent focus of finding one’s own way in the world. And while that may mean there isn’t so much time for being the most perfect friend, it is not selfish, it is a way to insure that shortly down the road and most likely thereafter, they will be friends of epic proportions. One of my dearest turned 29 the other day and all she could say about it was that she “felt old.” I would challenge that and say that for better-or-worse I don’t feel much “older” than I did at 23, and so far 29 might be one of my best years since I got to be a fairy princess all day long, or wile away days at Austin’s and Range Pond.
I think I’ve talked about this transition and soul search a few times on the blog in a creative + professional sense, but not so much in a personal. The friendships I have are as important if not more, and I really can’t say enough how easily it could bring me to tears the number of wonderful people I have that check in on me, remember what is coming next whether it’s a grad school acceptance letter or a dentist appointment, and how many people are cheering me on on a daily basis. This spring I was on the west coast, and every time I described a close friend I found myself explaining all the important things they had going on in their lives and how I couldn’t believe they were still helping me, still there for me.
I’ve gotten a lot of quick notes in 2011—birthday cards, thank you notes, quick email hellos, that have simply written one liners that stopped me in my tracks. Words I don’t think I deserve, but I've wanted to bottle up and drink because they're like Gummyberry Juice. It's not illness or death or an Olympic gold medal that has made my friends + family amazingly present in my life; it's just the way they're there during minute triumphs and defeats of everyday life.
As I said – at the risk of sounding really dramatic, I am overwhelmed with gratitude (and love). So as I sit in a new apartment, in a new city, not knowing anyone around me, I’m not worried (for once in my life). I have such an army behind me that if I make one friend, or if I make none, I’ve got all the love and support I need. For that I thank my friends and family, and I thank God. This is a topic I could go on and on about with examples, but I won’t bore you on this Monday morning. Truthfully, there are a lot of individual letters I need to write to thank people for being them, and I think I hear a school bell ringing.
(Per usual--Too long for a Monday. If you made it--thanks ;) ).