Today’s post is less on writing, more on life, but what’s one without the other?
So this thing started happening to me towards the end of college. Throughout most of college, I was thrilled to be there and aware of how lucky I was to be spending my days reading and discussing ideas with like-minded people (I was a French major, English minor), and living within walking distance of all my friends. It wasn’t until the end of school that I got an itch to go out into the “real world”. I had applied for a teaching assistantship in France, and was scheduled to start in September.
I’m over college, I told myself. I can’t wait to move to France.
So I moved to France, to Normandy, and lived in this tiny town called Saint-Lô. And it was hard, especially at first. (Moving to a new place alone, never mind a new continent, always is). There was the worst apartment of my life, with linoleum floors and fluorescent lighting and lukewarm to ice-cold showers and heat that got turned off on the weekends. The attempting to teach English to teenagers who made fun of my accent. Being at the mercy of the French transit system. Making so little money I often had to go through my pockets for change to buy a baguette to tide me over until I got paid. The incessant rain from December to April.
Don’t get me wrong: there were many good things about living in Normandy. The aforementioned baguettes. The crepes, the croissants, the cidre. The wine. The proximity of Paris. This trail I used to walk on that leads out into cow country where you felt like the only human being on earth. The adventures I had. The friends I made from all corners of the earth.
But a lot of the time, I found myself nostalgic for college, and at the same time, dreaming of the future.
I’m over France, I said, towards the end. I can’t wait to have a steady job and live in a big city and be near my boyfriend and watch football and have a car again.
So the next year, I moved to New York, got an apartment in Brooklyn, got a decent-paying administrative assistant 9-5 job. I watched football, saw my boyfriend all the time, had money to buy food.
But I had problems, too. Being a real adult for the first time was hard. I found myself nostalgic for France, and dreaming of the future.
I’m over Brooklyn, I said. Over this admin assistant job. Over being a relationship. I can’t wait until my life changes.
It did. I moved to the East Village. I became single again for the first time in three years. I got a new job, a *real* job, in the marketing department of my company.
The marketing job was hard, especially at first. So was dating. And living with roommates. I missed my old colleagues. I missed my old boyfriend. I missed Brooklyn.
Life changed again, as it tends to do. I got a promotion at work, doing something I like to do, at which I’m actually good (social media). All that dating landed me another boyfriend, one for keeps, this time. We moved back to Brooklyn together. I finally finished my book.
But I still have dreams. I dream of living in an actual house, with more than two rooms and a yard and trees (actually, I dream of living somewhere like this). I dream of quitting my job and becoming a full time writer. I dream of wide open spaces, of time to bake, of spending more than two weeks a year en voyage.
It’s okay to dream. Good, even. But somewhere along the way I figured out I have to be grateful for what I have, for the way my life is in this very moment. Someday I’m going to be nostalgic for my 375-square foot apartment two blocks from the Promenade. For the ease of taking the subway anywhere I want to go. For a steady paycheck, maybe.
I’m still nostalgic for days gone by and still dream about the future, but I’m trying really hard to keep my eyes wide open to appreciate the way my life is right now.