August 6, 2011 was a bummer of a day.
On August 5, I left my internship, a half-day, with confidence I’d be returning as a full-time employee after backpacking Europe. That, I felt really good about.
On August 5, 2011, I had one final date with the boy I’d met at Starbucks two months prior and had a first date with exactly one month prior. I hoped he would still be single when/if I returned to New York in five months. That, I couldn’t count on. And that bummed me out.
On August 6, 2011, I woke up early, did the final clean-out of my car that my uncle and aunt would sell for me when I went to Europe. A really poor job – looking back, I owe them.
On August 6, I flew home to California.
On August 18, I turned 22 while at a Irish pub in Barcelona.
The next four months, I counted each day. Each week – 15 weeks til home. 14 til home. 13 til home. Not in a rush, but as a matter of, “I survived another week” without getting pickpocketed, food poisoning, a debit card being eaten, a passport being lost or instances of stranger danger.
August 5, 2011 scared me because every single thing in the future was a series of questions. Would I run out of money before my four months was up in Europe? Would I live in CA or NY upon my return? Would getting a job be a matter of weeks or months? Would location decide job or would job decide location?
Oh, and what kind of job am I looking for when the skill I can best pull out of my hat is a good A-B-A-B rhyme?
I landed in California on December 15, twenty-two and four months old.
On December 20, I booked a one-way ticket to Albany, NY, for February 4. Fingers crossed on finding a job, roommate, buying a car. Fingers and toes crossed a boy was still single.
On February 4, I moved. On February 13, I started a job thanks to a high school friend and people willing to trust in a few phone interviews and a ridiculous personal blog.
And somewhere undefined in February, I became a girlfriend.
February. Twenty-two and six months old.
And in the last six months, as things have, comparatively, calmed down… time has sped up.
No longer counting down weeks abroad, days to the big move… It’s already August.
The first few weeks of my job, “Okay, made it two weeks. They like me. Three, I haven’t screwed up. Four, we’re doing this.” Full of intimidated fear of a 90-day review and the count to it from day 60, 70, 80.
And all of the sudden, I’m at six months. Going “Oh my god I hope they think I’ve learned something since my 90-day review and I really hope it’s showing.” Weeks are blending. It’s as though I say, “I can’t believe it’s already Thursday!” every day. While my life has become more of staying in a single place, the adventures have changed their appearances.
I still haven’t killed the herb garden – we weathered our first storm together. Sometimes an adventure for me is frying bacon without being scared of grease splatters – and without wearing the arm-protecting long-sleeved shirt in my 99-degree kitchen. Sometimes it’s adventures to the laundromat and being bitter afterward when my white sheets come out a faint yellow.
It’s different goals. Like, making my bed every day. And doing the dishes in a timely manner. Now it’s making homemade chicken parmesan – and only having the boyfriend contribute to the cooking at the end.
I remember being really upset with a blog comment telling me I was wasting time, behind my peers, living trivially and needing to settle down.
I remember feeling like he was telling me the fun was over and I was behind. And the adventures were over.
Now I’m two weeks shy of twenty-three years old, and I think I’m settling in.
Maybe soon I’ll have the boldness to figure out how to get a dresser up my flight of stairs. Maybe I’ll have the nerve to add even more flowers to my garden. And maybe I’ll cook something and not let any better chef contribute to it – and it will still be edible. And maybe some nights, so very grown-up that I am, the perfect cap to a night will be sitting in bed with a chick book and a freeze pop, where and how I am now.
On August 5, 2013, I want to think about another year filled with adventure and follow-your-gut decisions and craziness.
I’d give you a preview of it if I could guess anything about it, but I’ve learned not to plan much.
I’ll keep you posted.