So much happened in the past six months that I never wrote about! But that was then, and this is now, and I am trying to become (or at least let my blog make it seem like I’m becoming) one of those people that is good with the present. And so instead of romanticizing those past six months, and also because I feel sort of out of words today, here are some pictures to sum up all that happened.
I should be doing the dishes right now (how domestic of me), but I have some questions floating around and a desire to write them into words first (!). I am now less than four months away from turning twenty-six, and if I ever thought twenty-five sounded scary, twenty-six is a whole new ballgame. At twenty-six you are officially grown up. You are definitely, no doubt about it, in your mid-twenties and fast on your way to entering your late-twenties. You have been out of school long enough to finally forget what MLA style ever was. You start shopping at stores like J. Crew and leaving Forever 21 behind. You have a real job and and so at night when it starts raining so hard outside, the idea of staying in on a Wednesday with your two favourite cats seems like maybe the most perfect idea there is.
But with being almost twenty-six, I also realize there’s a lot that’s changed in my life in the past couple of years, and I don’t yet know if these changes are good or bad.
When I first moved to the city, I almost always had plans with a different friend each day, and some days I even had two or three different plans with two or three different friends. I probably text, let alone even see, about half those friends these days. However, that is not to say I’ve become a hermit cat lady (although my Facebook may suggest otherwise). Sure, I may go out less because I now love my home and my cats and Aaron and sometimes there’s really nowhere else I’d rather be. But also, when I do go out, I do so because I want to and not because I think I should. My friendships with both newish and older friends have also strengthened. And that is not to say that I don’t miss or think of those friends I no longer see, but those friends hardly contact me either, so maybe we’re all just growing up and going out less to be seen these days.
2. Find time for walks
Before work got in the way, I had so much time on my hands that I’d almost always walk everywhere (weather permitting, of course). There was something so great about exploring this city on foot, feeling the sun on my face, running into friends on street corners, all the while listening to my favourite songs on my iPod. However, these days, I hardly have time to walk anywhere. I plan my travels as a way to get from Plan A to Plan B, so there’s hardly any time to stop and wander, let alone listen to a favourite tune while doing so. It may seem silly, but the act of walking without destination is something I so miss doing.
3. Express and Create, OR Do More Than Sit in My Office Chair All Day
I miss taking photos on film and waiting to get said film developed. I miss writing (see last post). I miss writing letters and E-mails to friends. I miss sewing (usually crookedly, but still). Tied to Point #2, I need to find time and ways to be more than just a working robot.
This post doesn’t make all that much sense, but as I said just before this, I think it’s important that I try to write as much as I can. And so that’s what this is.
The other day at work, I was attempting to write an email inviting my coworkers to partake in another coworker’s baby shower when suddenly it felt like I was in the midst of a twenty page grad paper. As hard as I tried, the sentences would not come. Instead, words fell clunky and clumsily from my fingers, across the keyboard, and onto my all too daunting computer screen. These words were highlighted and then deleted, only to be typed again. Over and over this process occurred. And at that moment I realized how long it had been since I’d written anything more than a standard E-mail to a client.
As depressing as this thought was, what was maybe the most depressing was my reaction to it. I shrugged it off not once stopping to think how sad it was that I could no longer craft a simple conversational note when once all I wanted to do was write. I remember simply thinking “oh, this is just part of getting older.” “This” referring to the process of letting go off all the big plans that come with being younger.
But stop right there! This belief is exactly where my problems lie. Don’t you see! I’ve always let dichotomies rule my life more than they should. This either-or syndrome dominated much of my thinking growing up, and still continues to guide too many of my actions these days. The most obvious example? My inability to blog. Canadian Love Song was bound so tightly to a certain time in my life and the sort of growing that can only ever occur when single in your early twenties. And now, I sometimes feel so far removed from that girl I used to be that I have a hard time believing I have anything left to write about.
However, even if I don’t yet know what exactly it is that I want to say, I know that I must still find the time to write something somewhere. And this may simply be so I don’t get hit with a case of E-mail writer’s block at work anymore, or more importantly, to serve as a way for me to work through the new challenges and questions I face in my life today. My stories may not be as juicy as they once were, but they’ll probably be a lot less emo, too.
Reading and rereading my words from two summers past, I can remember that girl I used to be. If I keep reading and pressing play on all the right songs, I can almost feel like that girl again. And if I can pretend that I don’t have a grown up job and a grown up house and real life plans and the responsibilities that come with all this, I can even be that girl. Summer is suddenly new and unknown and exciting and mine again the way it only can be when still in your early twenties and new(ish) to the city. My words were all about the possibilities and lost chances and the what-could-bes and the almost-weres.
I have a tendency to focus on the past and the future and an inability to live content in the present. But listening to these songs on repeat makes me so vividly remember that girl and those feelings I once had that there must be a way to bring her and them into the present. There is so much left of summer that it can still be mine again. I want to get lost in this heat and wake the girl I used to be.
Walking home tonight, the night was a blur and buzzing because I’d had one too many drinks and it was a night that finally felt like summer. It finally felt like summer because it was finally a sticky hot still Toronto summer night and I’d had one too many drinks so I could close my eyes and feel a part of all those Toronto summers that came before. Those summers are always stickier and hotter in my memories of them because I always had more than one too many drinks and so I can remember them any way I want because the truth is I never really could remember them to begin with.
Talking with Sarah tonight, I remembered the feelings that came with all those summers before. Seven or eight drinks later, everything always felt all sorts of new and possible and now, at twenty-five and “grown up”, everything feels familiar. And familiar is good and maybe even great at times, but at other times, like tonight, all I want is to let the night carry me home the way it did all those summers before.
And I think this sudden yearning for those years before makes me dream extra hard about returning to San Francisco. I went almost two years ago, a week after finishing my Masters. I was numb about life and planless at the time, but there was something about that city, the constant blue, the smell of the ocean, the feeling of possibility that hit me with the breeze coming off the water, the way it felt to walk the Golden Gate Bridge, the feeling of grass on my legs and the sight of the skyline in the distance, the poems scribbled on a bookstore wall, that make me dream long and hard about returning. Maybe this is just me trying to recapture old feelings but maybe not. Maybe California really is the bluest sky and the brightest sun and real possibilities.
I forgot to show you what Deborah Lippman’s “Glitter in the Air” looks like on! Excuse this poor quality photobooth photo that fails to do the polish justice. For the first time wearing it, I chose to don it on its own as opposed to layering it over a baby blue or pink. Achieving the nails seen above took about four of five coats. As you can tell, it doesn’t dry thick. In fact, if I could use any word to describe this polish, it would be “milky.” And I do mean that in the very best possible way. Lippman has created a polish so dreamy and so girly that it manages to make us feel six again, complete with a slice of birthday cake glitter and a glass of milk on our hands.
Aaron and I left and fell in love with a new city together (him for the first time, me all over again) and returned all in one week. We boarded an overnight bus to New York City (!!!) a few weekends back and spent four mainly sunny days strolling its streets. Each time I arrive back in New York, I remember how it felt to arrive all those times before. It’s a feeling I can forget or let slip away when enough time and physical distance passes between me and this favourite city of mine. But as fleeting a feeling as it can be when real life gets in the way, it is also so instantly familiar each and every time I step out into the city, the best city, for the first time in a long time. And this time around, the best city was only made better with the best guy to share it all with because both are so easy to love.