Looking down, the faded turquoise-peach-navy carpeting swirled, probably from mild dehydration that comes from over an hour of heart-pounding exercise.* This cheap-motel inspired atrocity rested, strangely enough, in the living room of my new-to-me, old-to-my-new-roommate, apartment. Margo and Van, two bengal-style cats crawled furiously over, under and through my legs as I pulled myself through crunches before sitting up and looking at myself in the wall mirror.
Workout pants I’ve owned since four Christmases ago, a t-shirt I’ve had for three years, and a ponytail I’m not sure that has changed since I was a waitress back in 2007. Historic apartment with crown moulding, full-time copywriting job at a start-up, running, commuting.
On the outside, it appeared as though nothing about me or my life had changed over the past year. And that stasis scared me so much, I began to cry.
In times of trouble, I don’t wait for Mother Mary to come to me and whisper wisdom. I root through my Gmail in hopes of finding deep thoughts from my insightful friends (or if I’m really lucky, an email sent from me to someone else, where past me says something relevant for future me without meaning to. Because how would past me even know future me would go searching for such things? I bet past me thinks future me has this whole life thing down to a science).
I found this: If there is one thing I know, Lita, is that everything changes. Do not fear the change. Embrace stagnation temporarily (should you find yourself there), accept it as necessary, and then move on once you are ready to get active.
It’d been almost a year since Megs and I had left for a life-changing trip, and it was easy to think I wound up in the same place I’d started. Which was funny. Because clearly, everything was different. You don’t just hit the road, Jack, and return the same. Looks and architectural preferences don’t tell the story of who you are, where you’ve been, and the evolution of your living, breathing nature.
I understood now what it meant to love unconditionally (and that yes, I was capable of it despite my worries that I was not), that a true friendship isn’t about always getting along but about getting through, and after rereading that email I knew that a moment of static might be the best thing I could give myself before taking off.
You hope that every day changes you, that every moment is an adventure worth noting and that you’re always taking five steps forward and no steps back, that your journal is a technicolored dream curl of tales. But my life is rarely like that. Sometimes I take a step forward and then four steps back, having to reset myself and find balance I thought I had already located.
Sometimes I have to accept that which is rather than that which I dream and find a way to compromise the two.
It was going to be a long fall.
*If we were on the road, Megs so would have been Instagramming the cheap-motel carpet style my historic apartment building has going on.