Playing the field

Needless to say, last week was one of those weeks. My car started making a sound. Work was steadily becoming more torturous. Water bugs. Water bug-induced panic attacks. The price of laundry in my building went up $0.25 per load! I’ve been exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally, and, as we all know, I have to deal with it all by myself.

There were bright spots, of course. There always are! The best of which was a truly excellent second date with a great guy I met just a couple weeks ago. We went out for sushi, which to me is a make or break meal in any relationship. The thing about eating sushi is, sharing is implied. So much is riding on the choice of rolls – does he like spicy tuna?? wiil he make me eat the raw beef sushi (wtf, Texas)?? how many rolls should we order?? It can either end in total chaos or complete sushi harmony.

We handled things perfectly. A great selection of rolls with just enough for us to share without being hungry. My picks were clearly the best ones, which gave me the opportunity to gracefully gloat while also consoling him for his inferior roll selecting abilities. Raw fish bliss. Afterwards, he suggested we go to a bar nearby for drinks. We drank, we laughed, we watched cowboys play Jenga.

It was perfect! Or so I thought…

On Sunday he texted me to basically say thanks, but no thanks. He said it nicely, of course, and it’s not like I could be mad at him about it. I texted him back (as I am always wanting the final word), and said, essentially, back at ya! A clean break. No hard feelings! I have to appreciate that he made it really easy for me to just move on without forever wondering what could have been.

The thing is though, it still sucks. Here’s the deal – dating is always kind of terrible. It’s necessary, and it can be fun, but a lot of the time it is kind of terrible. I just didn’t realize that dating in a new city is even worse! I no longer have any random connections to the guys I meet (OMG! My Best friend’s sister’s neighbor’s dog goes to the same doggie daycare as yours!! – for example). I barely know the city, so, no, I don’t really have a strong opinion on the best tacos/hiking spots/local bands just yet. It’s so much harder to feel that “spark” when the initial connection is basically nonexistent.

I could lie and tell you I laughed this one off no problem, but the truth is, I spent some time crying in my bed alternating between feeling sorry for myself and reminding myself that I can do hard things. Now it’s time to do the hardest thing – get back on the horse, so to speak, and keep playing the field.

Picking myself up

Hello. It’s me. I’ve been wondering if after all these months you’re still reading…

There’s nothing like a little Adele to lighten the mood (said no one, ever). But it has been a while, and no one can explain the passing of time better than Adele. Why has it been so long? I’ve been spending the past few months trying to make sense of everything, but, as it turns out, nothing really makes much sense when you’ve turned your life upside down and you’re truly on your own for the first time.

I’ve felt pretty much the full spectrum of human emotion since moving to Austin four months ago, but, up to this point, I have handled it all (relatively) well and faced every challenge head on. I have friends at work! I went to a pie baking workshop alone! I signed up for a Digital Marketing course, and I’m actually going! Most days, I don’t quite recognize myself. Honestly, I’ve been feeling pretty darn proud of how things have been going.

That is, until I met the water bugs. Don’t know what water bugs are? I didn’t either until a few days ago. Don’t Google them – just hope you never have to see one. I saw one last week, and then I saw another, and then I realized for the first time what total, utter loneliness feels like. I’ve felt loneliness before, for sure. We all have at some time or another. This was the first time, however, that my complete emotional loneliness was paired with actual physical loneliness, and the combination led to me hyperventilating on my kitchen floor for over an hour on a Tuesday night.

Needless to say, I didn’t handle the water bugs well. I orchestrated a solo, cross-country move without even a minor hiccup, but these bugs were enough to break me. It’s bad enough that they are giant, and gross, and so fast, but I had to figure out how to get rid of them all by myself. I’ve never so desperately wanted a boyfriend, or a roommate, or a best friend who was a phone call away.

The bugs are (nearly) gone now. Every inch of my apartment is protected by some sort of chemical product, and my cat has started to pull her weight in battling them off. The loneliness, though, is here to stay for a while I think. Everyone said moving to a new place alone would be hard and would kind of suck for a while before it was great. Until now, I thought I maybe skipped that part, but it seems like I might be hitting the low point as we speak.

We can only go up from here, though, right? Fingers crossed.

Doing weird things

Settling into my life here in Austin has really made me feel like myself again. I don’t think I realized how much of myself I had lost in the past year until I started feeling happy and hopeful after only a week in my new life. For a year, my life revolved around the possibility of what might happen when I finally moved, and it feels like a weight has been lifted now that life can start to revolve around real life again, not just the possibility of it.

The best part of this newfound freedom, I can finally do all of the silly, fun, weird things I felt like I’d been missing out on this year. I didn’t want to waste a minute of my time here, so I pretty much immediately started using every dating app available to mankind as soon as my parents left two weeks ago. Maybe that sounds a little crazy (slash desperate?), but I just wanted to give myself as much opportunity as possible for fun.

[Side note – another great piece of advice I got before moving was “Never turn down a social invitation.” I was just taking that one step further by opening myself up to as many social invitations as possible.]

My frantic swiping and chatting culminated on Halloween when I decided I had to go out no matter what. I had heard too much about how wild and fun Halloween is in Austin to miss out on it! I set my sites on an easy target and scored myself an invite to a warehouse party (!) with a cute guy (!!) and his cousin (…?). He definitely did not realize I’d be showing up alone, but I was not letting that stop me from getting out of the house.

I donned a truly excellent last-mute Taylor Swift costume and made my way to this mysterious warehouse solo. I somehow got myself in for free, made a beeline for the open bar, and then found my prince (dressed as Austin Powers, of course). It certainly wasn’t love, but he and his friends were nice. I tagged along with them for the night, all the while acting like they wanted nothing more than to hang out with me – fake it ’til you make it, am I right?

It might not be totally normal that doing something so strange (and a little dangerous maybe?) made me so happy, but I felt more like myself when I got home on Halloween than I have in a very long time. Although, that could just be because I finally lived out my dream of being Taylor Swift, if even for one night.

Settling in

After living in Austin for a full two weeks, I’ve found that one of my favorite things about his move so far has been settling in to a normal life routine. I stocked up on Trader Joe’s groceries (all hail quinoa and pre-chopped veggies!), joined a local barre studio, and started packing my lunches and finding time for evening runs. I know it may sound a little pathetic that settling in to a totally boring routine has brought me so much joy, but it’s been so long since I’ve felt so completely settled.

It was at my 11:00 AM barre class on Saturday that I realized it’s been exactly one year since took my previously boring, routine life and turned it on its head. I had just broken up with a very nice (albeit totally wrong for me) boy who I had been dating for a few months. The breakup was the result of an absurd argument (that I am not willing to rehash, even here), and it really left me feeling out of sorts.

I started trying to “find myself,” which is something I say a lot, like when I signed up for my first 10 K, became a vegetarian for 3 months, started going to yoga, etc. In this case, I decided life just wasn’t working and I needed to start doing things differently. I went to barre classes 5 times a week, I started (and later quit) a second job, I “talked to” far too many boys (that’ll show that cat-hating, good for nothing…never-mind), I went back to that cat-hater briefly (minor regrets about that), and I finally decided I had to leave DC.

Once I made that decision, life didn’t settle down, and instead became a whirlwind of finding new roommates, packing and moving my life twice, making plans with all of my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances as often as humanly possible. I stopped working out, I started eating out constantly, and, aside from a previously discussed last-minute fling, my dating life was anything but consistent.

Needless to say after a year of constant, out of control change, it feels amazing to finally be settling into my life on my own terms. And it’s not all just workouts and brussel sprouts! Life on my terms means plenty of escapades and awkward situations, too. Trust me.

Getting through it

As soon as I announced that I had made the decision to move halfway across the country by myself, I started getting (unsolicited) advice from everyone I crossed paths with. Most of the time I politely listened with a little smiling and nodding and took everything with a grain of salt (or two), and I kept these little bits of wisdom in the back of my mind throughout this entire process.

[Side-note – if you’ve never done a move like this before, then you should know it is a process. The logistics are boring and involve a lot of awkward Craigslist encounters, stuffing clothes into Space Bags, spending 24 hours in a Honda Civic, countless trips to target, hours in IKEA….the list goes on. I’ll allow you to fill in the blanks yourselves.]

While I was getting ready to leave, all of the advice was really starting to stress me out. I was trying not to think about how hard this was going to be and focusing on how awesome it would be in a few weeks, or in a year (as my best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend’s girlfriend so kindly let me know).

Now that I’ve survived the drive, finished unpacking, and successfully located the nearest Trader Joe’s (only a 5 minute drive, thank goodness!), I’ve been thinking a lot about everything everyone told me about how to get through all of this. A lot of really great people told me some really great stuff, but the thing that has stuck with me the most this week surprised me a little.

A few weeks before I left, I met a boy (sorry, Mom). Obviously, nothing much happened with this boy in the three weeks before I moved 1,500 miles away from him, but we did find a decent amount of time to hang (really sorry, Mom). When I told him the story of how this move came about (I basically gave my boss an ultimatum – get me out of DC within the next year or I’m leaving), I think he was a little shocked. But every time I would mention being nervous or unsure about it all, he told me, “You just need to remember what it felt like that day you talked to your boss. You did this for a reason. Don’t forget that.”

I’ve forgotten that feeling more than a few times over the past couple of months, especially the past couple of days, but I keep reminding myself (not helping me forget that damn boy), and that’s what is getting me through right now. I’m here for a reason, and I’m ready to find out what that reason is.

Buying a ticket

I’m pretty obsessed with Eat Pray Love, and I’m sure that makes me just as basic as any ugg-wearing pumpkin spice latte drinking, blonde girl in the world. I’m not ashamed, though. I love to read the book before a big transition in my life, and I never change the channel if I find the movie on TV. The story always means something a little different to me, depending on what’s been going on in my life at the time, but there is one passage that always speak to me. I think about this part of the story almost daily.

There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, ‘My son-please, please, please…buy a ticket.”

I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life wishing for things to be different, and I was constantly frustrated when things weren’t just happening to me the way I wanted them to. It took me long enough to realize it is time to buy that lottery ticket! I wish it hadn’t taken me 24 years to realize I was never going to do the things I wanted to unless I, like, actually did those things.
It’s probably time to pick up Eat, Pray, Love again as I get ready to go on a long-overdue adventure. My little cat and I are on our way to Austin, Texas in a few short weeks, and we can’t wait! Here’s hoping we hit the jackpot when we get there.