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Two years ago I was sitting by myself at the airport waiting for my flight to depart while listening to a playlist my sister made me. I had packed my iPod in one of 30 or 40 boxes that had left for Boston four days before, not thinking that music might be nice to have on a six hour flight, so my sister let me borrow hers. I remember I was listening to the song “Good Life” by OneRepublic, hoping that the life I was flying into that night would in fact be good and being stubbornly certain it wouldn’t be.
Fast forward to now.
I got a new job on Monday. I start in two weeks. I’m still working for the same company but within a different division, and I think the change will be a breath of fresh air. But as much as I’m excited for this job change, thrilled even, the transition will be bittersweet. I’ve made amazing friends in my current job, and while I won’t be leaving them entirely it will be weird not working with them. It will be weird–exciting but still a little weird–just learning a new job on a new floor in a new desk with new people. And it all really got me thinking. (Change does that sometimes.)
The summer I moved here, I was determined to do whatever it took to facilitate time passing as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to be here. It was foreign. It was unnerving. It was uncomfortable. I only did it so The Mr. could go to law school. I just wanted it all to be done with so I could go back home to the people I loved and the things I knew and the person I had been for the past 22 years. Because soon after moving here, I felt like that person disappeared. I couldn’t find her, and for a while I didn’t even really care to look for her because all I could think about was getting back home. I was doing what I had to until I could get back home. But now, somehow, this place feels like home. It’s weird to think my life before here feels like it could have just been an elaborate dream.
So I decided I needed to make a change. I need to make a point to Be Present. I want to relish in each day of my life like I used to, back before I felt like I needed to try so hard to speed through it. My dad always used to tell me to never wish I had the ability to hurry through things–childhood, high school, college, heck even long road trips–because it’s not about the destination, it’s about appreciating the journey, even when that journey is foreign and unnerving and uncomfortable. Because one day you might wish you could experience that journey again, and you might not be able to. He was right. It seems so obvious, but it’s so easy to forget. That’s the case for most important lessons in life, I think.
Along those same lines, Being Present means I can finally stop trying so hard to “find myself” and instead just be–and be happy with that. There were times in the last couple years when I felt like I liked the person I used to be before I came here better than the person I am now. The person I used to be had her life all figured out. She was fairly well-adjusted. Her chronic illness didn’t have much to do with her happiness. She didn’t take risks because she didn’t need to, and she liked that. She knew generally what she wanted in life. I used to have all these grand ideas of who and what I would be by now. All my friends are in graduate school, starting families or raising children, climbing the ladders of their chosen careers–and here I am making soap in the shape of a sunflower with no concrete idea of where I will be in 5 years or what I will be doing in that time. That used to drive me insane, but I think I’m okay with it now. It means that moving forward I’m not tied down to the notions of who I used to be and what I used to want. It means that I can create myself. And that, my friends, is exciting.
There was a day at work a few weeks ago, we were all randomly chatting at the end of the day and someone asked, If you could go back to your younger self and give her advice in just two words, what would they be? It was an interesting question. I think my two words would be Enjoy It. What would yours be?