Updated: Mar 22, 2019
It was one of those Monday nights where your drive home takes more from you than the forty-five minutes you signed up for.
The day weighs on your mind & body as hundreds of brake lights mimic the red sun sinking below the horizon. For a minute, you let that slow song seep into your brain; the words playing with your thoughts in ways that never occur to you on a lazy, Sunday afternoon.
Pulling into a spot on your street, you simultaneously pull yourself together, attempting to wipe away the seemingly permanent circles from beneath your trying eyes. You tell your rearview reflection that you’ll eat a healthy dinner, be in bed by 10pm, and tomorrow you’ll drink less coffee. Closing the door to your car, you look up at that little apartment among the trees; a beacon of hope with a light on in the kitchen.
You kick your shoes off next to the welcome mat and follow the faint sound of voices to the back bedroom. Your sighs are greeted by two equally exhausted faces, seeming to say, “we understand,” without saying anything at all.
A few hours pass, a glass of red wine and a bowl of ice cream later, you ignore the clock as it reaches midnight. Exchanging yawns and belly laughs, you sit cross-legged fantasizing long term plans with short term love interests. You talk about the sweet boy that flew over 1000 miles just to take you to dinner, & what that must mean. You plan for a future filled with New England summers, lifelong friendships, & loyal husbands, knowing all too well that nothing in life is predictable, despite your well thought-out intentions. Together, you come to realize that the flashy jobs you always wanted – the ones that make your small town swoon – actually make up the least exciting parts of your days. Instead, you watch daylight pass through the skylight of your downtown office, constantly reminding yourself that California sunshine is only as healing or as harmful as you let it be, though many days it doesn’t feel like a choice.
And at the end of the day, when that sun goes down and the bright side is even harder to spot, you won’t find it in a higher salary, 500 likes on your Instagram post, or in a boy that always texts you back. You’ll find it here: sharing a queen-sized bed with tired eyes & greasy hair, reminiscing about the times you both laughed until you cried with that funny guy in the backseat of your convertible, before you lost him in different ways. It's these moments that are more revitalizing than any amount of sleep or coffee could ever be.
As appealing as it might sound when you first move to the city, say 'no' to that studio apartment down the street from work; the silence will never be as peaceful or meditative as it is lonely & dark. Instead, agree to living on the west side of town with that girl that just moved from New York & collects coffee-cup sleeves. She will always be down for tacos & a chick-flick on a random Tuesday night. Move-in with the girl that drives the white VW bug & does creative writing in her spare time. Her sunny disposition will remind you of everything good in life. And when it comes down to it, the extra time you spend commuting everyday will be incomparable to the time you’ll spend together dancing around the living room to the new Taylor Swift album.
You’ll memorize their coffee orders for those ‘I know you need this’ days, and they’ll save you the last muffin because they know it’ll make your day a bit brighter. You’ll support them through countless interviews and late nights around your hand-painted kitchen table, and they’ll cuddle with you on your goodwill couch when he decides the distance is too much.
And at 1:48am, you’ll hug them goodnight, get into a shower still filled with sand from the weekend, and smile to yourself about this life you’ve built together between airplanes & ocean. Roughly 2,500 miles from where you grew up, you’ve grown more here in the past year than ever before. You've turned acquaintances into your second family and a foreign place into your home, and that is the most beautiful thing you could ask for.