…for my life in London
…for my life in New York
…for my life.
It is hard to know where to start for this year. I have had so much happen to me, and I still have another 30+ days left in which I’ll be traveling back to NYC, then on to Chicago, then back to DC (maybe twice!), and then up to Lake Placid, (if not also to Boston, again, too).
It’s been insane, and I truly mean that, in the amount of travel I’ve done this year, for personal and for work. By time this year is over, I will have been to, in no specific order, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, London (3x), NYC (when I lived in DC), DC (when I lived in NYC), Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Richmond, and Florida.
I’ve probably missed one.
30+ flights; countless miles on the road; here and there, moving, constantly, never stopping to take it all in, all of it, at once.
Until today, the day after US Thanksgiving, sitting in “my bed” in London in my best friend’s apartment, my home on this shore.
I am so damn fortunate. And yet–
I want more? (Is that even possible? Even reasonable?)
Yesterday, together with my best friend, we hosted That Dinner. You know, That Dinner, of which you only get to do once in life, the first time you nail it, perfectly, and the first time you know that your parents’ way is now your way and you’re creating memories and styles and stories of your own.
While the six of us were sitting there talking, laughing, and passing plates around, it hit me that I have a “London life” with commitments as strong as the ones I have in NYC and had in DC. I had already said out loud and to others that I had every intention of being in London at last 8 weeks out of the year, but last night made it real. At the first time I voiced that sentiment, it felt like an obnoxious thing to say, to choose to actively build and live a life in more than one place. And now? Now, it’s just obvious.
Can I, will I ever, find someone who supports and encourages that? (Should I? Should I be so bold?)
As my best friend and I cleaned up and sat on his sofa having late nite whiskeys and talking, talking, talking, it occurred to me that I could choose that as a baseline requirement for someone coming into my life, that I could say to myself: “This much, at least.” Or, I could say that it was a bonus, and treat this life that I’m living almost as a lark, as a thing you do while you’re a single bachelorette and that’s not how ‘serious’ people live their lives.
(But that would be a lie. I am a serious person; that much is true. This is my life, not a lark! Why can’t I have it all?)
In the days leading up to The Dinner, I spent them grocery shopping at the Waitrose that was a 10 minute walk from the flat. Then to the butcher around the corner. Then to the fruit and veg. Then brining a massive turkey breast, peeling potatoes, apples, and pears, chopping brussels and butternut squash, quilling that heritage turkey, toasting the bread for the stuffing, and…
I had grown up to be my mom. And my best friend walked in to lend a hand, doing dishes and blithely taking orders from me to move this, lift that, help with this, and–
And this is my life. I didn’t, quite literally, hover over hot pots and hot ovens for over a day just for anyone. The people around that table, the person at the head of that table last night, those are the people in my life. And in New York, there are people there, who I saw the week before I flew to London, heck, who I saw the day of my evening flight, that are people in my life.
I am grateful that they are in my life. I am grateful for my family and how we’ve learned to love and support each other, even when we don’t always agree. I am grateful that I have a job that sometimes frustrates me, but allows me to travel and go to the places I need to go, when I need to go. I am grateful that my health sometimes feels better than it did when I was in my 20s. I am grateful that I get to experience all these things – different food, different cities, different cultures – and that it’s all spread out in front of me like a buffet of life of which no choice is a bad choice.
I am grateful for my life.
And I can only show that gratitude if I live every day doing the things and surrounding myself with the people both support that life and make it possible.
(It has to be a starting point, a baseline, nothing less than that will do; I cannot be ungrateful. I won’t)