Essays

Gratitude

I am not bragging.

No, really, I’m not. But… I really and truly love my life. The life I am living, right now, in this moment, in the past few months, I love it.

Last night, I told a story for the first time on a stage to about 75 people. My classmates from my storytelling class are a cross-section of people from various backgrounds and ages, and they have had experiences that were funny and intense and meaningful, and they shared some of those, too, from the stage. Earlier in the day, I had an opportunity at work to step into a different world, briefly, and it was interesting and exciting. Earlier in the week, I got to see a tour of a hotel under construction and see a “thing” in the act of becoming.

Every week something is happening and I love it!

I would be lying to myself, and to you, if I said that this was not possible if I still lived in NYC. It’s not that it was impossible, it’s just that it would have been very, very hard for me for a variety of reasons.

You see, when I was there, I was in a rut emotionally, professionally, and personally. It would be easy to blame it on my last breakup and dealing with my family, but that would be false. What would be better to “blame” it on would be:

  • The 10+ breakups of romantic / complicated relationships
  • The many, many funny, but sad and frustrating dates
  • The strange and semi-toxic friendships that persisted too long
  • The 5+ job changes because of feeling / being limited and not being able to find the right fit
  • Feeling “tied to the land” because staying was the default option
  • The stress and pain of trying to balance everybody else’s needs while burying / forgetting my own

Etc. etc. Some of it in was my control, some of it not, but the end result was that my lived life in NYC was not a happy one. Do I miss some of my friends? Sure, but 90% of them are going / gone from NYC already. Do I miss seeing my family all the time? Ha! Not so much… 🙂 but yes, sure I do, but I have kept in touch and I have visited there often enough and will continue to do so.

Do I miss some of my favorite restaurants? A little, but unfortunately, many of them have closed, and I have already found new ones out here that have become my mainstays.

The problem of my old life is not dissimilar to why they tell addicts they need to leave the place of their addiction to get better. There is a pattern of living that gets worn into the grooves of your brain and your body. Your daily living is a habit and habits are hard to break. Why?

Because we all need habits to live. If we didn’t have habits, if we approached everything as new and novel to figure it out, we wouldn’t get very much done and it would be exhausting, too. Habits, in and of themselves, are not the problem. What those habits are? That is where the problem hides.

New York City

  • Accepted as normal a commute between 45 mins – 1.5 hours
  • Drink regularly after work with the same coworkers, at the same place, and complain about work
  • Same fitness routine, day-in, day-out
  • A semi-closed friend group
  • Wash, rinse, repeat and assume all relationships end in failure
  • Talk about trying new things but failing to get on with it

My Home

  • 5-10 minute walk from home to the office
  • Drink occasionally after work with different coworkers, at different places, and talk about lots of things
  • Changing fitness routine, when I feel like it
  • An expanding friend group
  • Patient enough to wait for the right one
  • Storytelling, aquarium-keeping, grad school, etc., etc.

 

 

 

 

And I could go on and on, but what would be the point? Anyone could easily look at the list on the right say: “You could have done all of that without leaving New York!”

True. I did say it was possible. However, it was highly improbable. Why? Because I was an exhausted, worn down, and resigned sad sack of a human being. The me there could not have done all of this. She was overweight, drank too much, had fully embraced a cynicism about living, wore a lot of armor and carried a shield against the world, hated looking in the mirror, and lived too much inside of her head and not enough out in the world.

Also, she really, really hated NYC transit and traffic. Really.

I needed a change and I am thankful every day for whatever it was inside of me that roared up and said: “Live!” I am thankful for the friends and family who were supportive; I forgive the ones who weren’t (we all have our own fears and limitations and too often we project them). I am thankful for the people who saw something in me to give me the job that opened up the pathway for me to get here.

I am thankful every damn day. Every single day, every single morning, I wake up thankful, grateful, and humbled.

Every single day.

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