I had every intention of writing something here that would be posted on my actual 33rd birthday. Not that it would have mattered to you, but for some reason, I thought it would matter to me as not only was July 15th my 33rd, but it also marked the 3rd anniversary of my move to Boston. Alas, I have dropped the ball again. It doesn't sound nearly as smooth to start a story with, "Three years and 13 days ago", but, you know this ain't no Reader's Digest caliber kind of blog, so I'll quit trying to put on airs and just go with the garbage you've come to expect from The Cube. Three years and 13 days ago, I arrived here in my mom’s car, with the rest of my belongings in a Green Giant moving truck ( I know, I thought they only made beans too! Sooo versatile!) somewhere between Texas and Massachusetts, not really wanting to be here at all but reciting a commitment I had made in my mind over and over again - “I only have to stay for three years, I only have to stay for three years, I only have to stay for three years”. I’m not sure where I got that number, but I had decided I could, and needed to, stick out the job I had accepted for three years and then I could move. Home. I very badly wanted to go home. At the time I had no friends in this city and had left the ones that I valued the most in another, I was heartbroken over a relationship I had poured myself into but failed at nonetheless, I rented an apartment I was afraid I couldn’t afford and I was pretty sure I had tricked an entire group of people into hiring me for a position I wasn’t qualified to undertake just by borrowing a pair of pricey designer shoes and dropping phrases I didn't even understand like “fungible income” and “moves management system” (full disclosure - I still don't know what those things mean but I love saying "fungible" whenever I can fit it into a sentence regardless of relevancy and/or accuracy). I actually have no recollection of what I did on my 30th birthday aka my first night in Boston, but I imagine it involved large quantities of alcohol, cigarettes, a bathtub and crying. And I can definitely say that if it didn’t go down that way specifically on July 15, 2009, it certainly did many nights over in the months that followed. No one needs to hear another story about a sad 30-something single lady with privileged people problems that, with a lil’ bit of hard work and a go-getter attitude, came through on the other side!!!, so rest easy, my friends, we’re not going to throw that kind of party here this evening. I’m no one to pretend I have a clue as to what I was doing then or what I’m doing now. The only thing I’m confident of is that while we may have the occasional “I’ve got it made!” moment, we spend most of our time thinking otherwise; people generally feel just as dumb in work meetings as you do; perfection and enjoyable workouts are a myth; regret is real and everyone is just trying to get by with what they’ve got so be nice. That’s my two cents and try not to spend it all in one place.
Most everything that’s happened in the last three years, you’ve read about here. I’ve been reversed cowgirled during a bikini wax, multiple superiors have caught me in various stages of undress, I’ve sang Joy to the World to strangers on the train at midnight with no response applause, I've been trapped in an elevator twice - once being with a small Chinese man, I’ve made out in a recycle bin and have had countless, shameful encounters with the chip aisle at my neighborhood 7-Eleven. Seriously, that is the most fitting general description of CultureCube 2009-2012. Now, that said, I was having dinner with a friend tonight and we started talking about another friend who is moving to Chicago at the end of the week. We’re going to miss her dearly, she’s one of the people I’ve become closest to in Boston, we speak almost daily and hang out pretty much weekly and sadly, she’s leaving. On my way home I realized that she is one of no less than a dozen friends that have left since I got here. In three years, a dozen people I know have left (yeah, I'm catching your shade. Put it away, pal). And I didn’t even put that together that until today. My point is, things tend to slowly weave themselves in and out of the fabric of everyday and most of the time, you don’t even notice it. You wake up, you go to work, you come home, you see friends, you go to bed, rinse and repeat. In the midst of all of that, everything shifts and shapes into something else. You: Thank you, Walt Whitman. Me: No shakes, homey. What I haven’t always shared here in dirty detail is that, in addition to a many Dorito binge and failed attempt at live performance art, in the past three years I’ve also fallen madly in love and back out again; my parents, quite surprisingly and quickly, decided to separate; I left a job I was actually very equipped to undertake to start a new one that makes me feel yet again like the world’s biggest impostor; I’ve run a half marathon; I’ve made good friends; I’ve intentionally lost touch with some of those friends; I’ve had a total blast; and as previously mentioned, I’ve done my fair share of crying in a bathtub full of Zima. And, in the past three years, I’ve slowly decided I probably won’t ever move home again.
I feel like an asshole because I know that some of these things should make me tear up or find me better and more “well-rounded” for their having happened. But I’m not sure that’s true. They happened and some of them have brought a good return and some were just downright bitches. Each day that they happened, for better or for worse, I slept at night. And probably ate a plate of nachos in there somewhere too. I don’t mean to devalue any of it, but what other choice is there? You go to bed, you get up, you put on your lip gloss and get on, honey. I feel the same as I ever did which is to say, I feel like I kinda know how manage this ride at this point, but wait, no I don’t. And I’m cool with owning that statement...except when I’m in meetings where I’ll absolutely pretend I know exactly what to say when someone brings up “incremental reporting procedures” or “Do you still not understand how voicemail works, Allie?”.
So, here’s to the beginning of my 34th spin around this big ball of fire and my 3 years in Beantown. I still recite the slightly altered statement, “I only have to stay for three more years” on loop in my head - just a different landing spot now. I know you’re never supposed to make hard plans because nothing will shake out exactly as you intend, so I’m not going to bank on details, but I will bank on it continuing to be much of what it is now - generally good, peppered with the random drag and lots and lots of burritos and dancing. Such is life and cheers to us...