This morning I met my friend PP for tea and a stroll in Harvard Square. PP is kind of a friend-of-a-friend. She worked at Random House with my good friends in NYC for a while, then went out of the country on a Fullbright to write a book, and moved to Boston when she returned. PP and I have a lot in common: friends, the mutual experience of Random House, the writing life and all that it entails, and a lot of parallels in our romantic relationships. She’s a very sweet, thoughtful person. When she was in Boston, we got together for coffee a few times. But we always sort of remained in that nebulous more-than-acquaintances-not-quite-friends zone. This has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that my work schedule was insane and I prioritized that above hanging out. This spring I started to realize how awesome PP really was, but by then it was too late–she was moving back to NYC after a bit of a tumultuous run in Boston.
She came back to visit this weekend (thus our Harvard Square jaunt). As we strolled around, the conversation came easily and we marveled at all of the similar things going on in our lives. At the end of our walk as she set out to meet other friends she told me, “You know what? I know we don’t know each other very well, but I really love our talks and feel like you’re a kindred spirit.” I feel the same way … but I don’t know that I would’ve had the guts to say it. That stuff can be scary. Which is all to say that PP taught me a good lesson today.
On a somewhat related note, I’ve really realized this week how much I’ve given up over the past few years for work. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, to be honest–it was just a way of life. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve holed up in lieu of getting out there and interacting with the world. Or how accustomed to stress I was for years, to the point where I didn’t even think twice about it–it was status quo.
And, the thing I realized after being out of the rat race this summer, is that I just can’t go back to that. I’m terrified (not in an I-need-to-conquer-it-kind-of-way) of getting sucked back into that now that I’ve seen a monumentally better way of living. This was a shocking revelation to me because I have always associated the bulk of my identity with my job. It’s not pretty, but I’ve always had to go to the best schools, work at the most prestigious companies, and do BIG things. To be sure, there was the passion for writing (which will always be there–I couldn’t not write if I tried), but I needed that outward appearance of success. In retrospect, I think I thought it was all I had to offer; that it was the thing that defined me and made me okay and worthwhile. Not surprisingly, none of it really did anything to change how I felt on the inside. None of it was enough to make me feel like enough. Although I have certainly had my fair share of happiness, none of it actually made me happy in that way-deep-down-on-the-inside-I’m-happy-because-I’m-alive-and-the-sun-is-shining-and-the-clouds-are-beautiful way I have been recently.
Suddenly, I feel like enough, even with all of my flaws and insecurities. I want to continue being happy. I am shocked (and, to be honest, a bit scared) to find that I am ready to let go of all of these things I’ve relied on to define me and prove that I’m worth it for my whole entire life and veer to whatever makes me happy. I know that yoga is a part of that … as for the rest of it, for one of the first times ever I can actually say that as long as I stay on this path of happiness and fulfillment and love and openness, I actually believe that it will all work out in ways I can’t quite see yet. Time to take a leap and get scared!
Took a loooong, dead-to-the-world nap today and did a chakra cleansing practice. Still working on getting the balancing back … but the world just keeps on shifting!