It's really easy for me to get wrapped up in the mindblowing heartcrushing magnitude of all this change -- graduate from college, move away from home to another city, have an internship while looking for a permanent job, trying to find new people who want to hang out with me and activities that I want to do without a built-in community to provide these -- but I am grateful for the moments when I escape that and realize that life is life is life, even in the midst of shake ups and even because of them.
For instance, I made two new friends last week. Seth and Matt, recent grads also, moved here to work and figure out next steps, and that includes church-hopping. They showed up to the young adult Sunday School class the same day that I did, and by the time it was over we'd figured out we know two mutual friends, and by the time church was over we were headed to lunch, and by the time lunch was over (two hours later) we were headed to Ben & Jerry's (for two more hours). We laughed and figured that if nothing else, eating messy burritos from Chipotle would be a good ice breaker. We talked about being out of college and thrown into this new dimension, this alternate reality that is in fact reality. We talked about how hard it is to not be with all of our friends all the time, to not have the ability to go play pick up basketball or get a crowd to gather for dessert at 11 o'clock at night. In line for ice cream, Red Hot Chili Peppers blared over the speakers and we started singing, harmony and all (when I sit alone come get a little known/but I need more than myself this time). On my drive home, I marveled: twelve hours ago, I didn't know these people. What??? And: wow, we're really going through the same things. There are so many of us who are feeling this way, and if we find each other, this is going to be a hell of a lot easier.
More than anything, it made me rejoice in something I forget a LOT, especially when I'm missing so many people -- you never know who is going to walk into your life, or when.
I'm also reminded of this when I've gone back to Davidson to see my best friends who are still there. It's strange, for sure, but strange in a different way that I would've guessed. The feeling I have most is not nostalgia or sadness or even some form of pain. No, it's more this emotion that I don't think has a word yet, this sense of "I had this, and I know this, and it was wonderful. Your turn." Distance, maybe? Sometimes I think that means I should be away away, distant far away, forced from being able to reach any of it that is so dear to me. But then, past all of the baggage and weirdness of not being a student and not really knowing where I fit on a daily basis, I am very aware that I fit with these people, jessiesarahjamierob(claire)michelledavidkategrace so so many. No matter what age I am, no matter if I have a diploma and they're still on their way toward that Sunday morning stage, they are part of my family forged in its purest form, laughter and linked arms. It is important, especially right now, that I can hold onto them. It's important that when we do pursue new and far off paths, we can still hold on to each other. It's important that Jeremy called from Louisville last night, and that I handed the phone to David to answer, and we all yelled hello and love and come visit soon, and I stood on the balcony and talked to him, my brother, formed from one part of life and carrying into another.
It's important that when we come back together, we can hold onto each other again. As I walked down Main last night, someone yelled my name from a passing car: "CLAYA!!!!" (yes, it rhymes with "playa." Laugh... now) Okay, that might not be my given name, but when you're Tory (or Mike, or Chris, or Rieti), then that's another story. I don't even remember how, when, or why he started the nickname (and then Rieti added "Clazbeezy" last year. Really, you can't write this stuff better than it comes), but that is Tory's name for me. Last night he yelled it and kept driving and I pulled out my phone, did I just hear that? stunned and smiling, dialing, "What are you doing here?" And a little while later, I passed my old apartment (shivercringeache) and went upstairs and gave him a hug -- four months and one common room up from where I'd hugged him goodbye that crazed tearstained thunderstorming night in May as we packed our lives away. Hunter was there last night too, and Olivia, and SB and Caroline, 2010, 2010 we did this together. I had the feeling then, and when Moriah and I had dinner tonight, it hit me again: we still exist. We still have these bonds, even if they stretch and change, and there is no boundary that says we can't write more chapters for these stories.
Rejoice! You never know who is going to walk back into your life, or when.
I set so many parameters and perimeters these days, about what I think I should be doing or how I should be acting or where I should be aiming. But the best moments seem to come when I set aside "I should" and dust off "I am." This is who I am, this is how I'm pushing through, this is what makes me smile. It's good to remember.
[props to DBakes for featured photo!]