|Nothing More by Wesley Bird|
That afternoon, I sat and daydreamed silly girl dreams about my best friends and school crush, a movie in my mind about what it would be like when I was a teenager.
I will live on the shore of a lake just like this. All of my friends will live around it, too. We'll float on rafts in the middle and swim all day. We'll ride jet skis instead of bikes. When my first love breaks my heart, I'll sit on the dock, crying and contemplating the stars. No matter what happens later on in life, me and my friends... we'll always come back here.
Nothing to write home about; musings of a prepubescent. What strikes me now, as I remember it, are less the details (I hardly consider "lakefront property" a priority and I'm well past my "young love" phase) than the sentiment behind it.
Those friends have changed, it's true, but the feeling hasn't shifted. I couldn't appreciate the simplicity of it at the time, but that fantasy (in its more adult incarnations) would continue to go through my mind for the next nearly two decades. A sense of Home, always with others. It's what I want, what I've always wanted. I knew it even when I was ten, didn't I?
Being far away from the people I love has been the hardest part of growing up. I am thankful that staying connected takes just one click, but I wonder if it's the simplicity of that click that's to blame for pulling us apart in the first place. Myself, my friends... we're all intelligent, 21st century, Gen-Y folk who want adventure, travel, exploration, a change of scene, even if it's just to a new state or city that challenges us. It's what led me to Seattle after college, what led so many of my friends to New York City, and others to England and South Korea.
|print by December Baby Designs|
The part of me that yearns for new and challenging experiences in other areas of the world is constantly at odds with the part of me that wants to stay grounded. The part of me that wants to find a home and community near friends and family, where Jonathan's and my children will grow up and cry their own tears on a dock over a broken heart, still can't reconcile the idea of never having lived abroad -- of not taking bigger risks.
I think most people know where they fall on this spectrum. Travel, excitement, adventure? Duh. No-brainer. Settling near family and friends? Totes. Only option for me. But what about when you're limited by your income and work and paid time off, and living impossibly far from those you love sounds about on par with the 4th circle of Hell, yet your heart still feels pulled in the direction of movement... What can you do?
I've never been much of a risk-taker. I'm an introvert, and my first year in Seattle was hard for a reason -- I'm simply dreadful at meeting new people. Making friends doesn't come easy for me, because my standards are so high. (I have some flipping awesome friends.) Also, RBF is at least partly to blame. This is a major reason why moving to someplace new, just Jonathan and me, scares the ever-living-hell out of me. Adventures can be thrilling, but they can also be lonely. But maybe that's the beauty of it?
It's no secret to me now that, when something scares me, I am not the person who goes into it head-on. I usually back away. It's always been this way, but that doesn't mean it's how I want to live my life. Whatever happens, our life choices should never be made out of fear. But how can you make yourself be brave?
Jonathan and I just signed another one-year lease on our apartment in Orange. He'll work to finish school and keep his contract position at his job -- until they decide, inevitably, to offer him a full-time job. When they do that, he'll accept it. This means we'll be staying in Los Angeles for at least a year after we get married next summer.
This both excites me and makes me terribly anxious.
I have to remind myself constantly that we are only 27. If we move from Orange to Los Angeles next year, we'll only be 28, etc. etc. etc. There's no rush on making these decisions, and it does me no good to ponder things that may or may not come. Who said you had to have it all figured out by the time you're 30?
I remember back to my fantasy at 10-years-old and know that, without question, being near my loved ones in some capacity is an absolute must in my life and in my future. This was the one Truth I learned after three years of growing pains in Seattle. Does that mean travel and living abroad will be impossible? I'm not sure; I can't know.
What I do know is that I am opening up myself to the many possibilities that make me happy and scared. Friends and neighbors, late nights and bottles of wine, exploring someplace new and getting out of my comfort zone.
On second thought, let's just all go adventuring together. That'd make this decision a lot easier.