I drove out of New York City bright and early a few weeks ago, trying to beat traffic as I watched the sunrise over that skyline we all know so well. I was also that girl trying to take a one-handed photo of the view while watching the road and going 70. That didn’t go so well.
As I drove away, and a few times over that weekend, I kept thinking that I could really see myself living in NYC. It’s so full of life – not to mention full of people I know – and there’s something so refreshing about it every time I visit. I know it’s not as fun when you’re actually paying New York rent, shivering through the winter, and sweating through the summers, but still, there’s something about it I just know I’d love. Ever since I spent a year of high school in Zaragoza, Spain, I’ve missed something about living in a big, loud, smelly city.
And then, of course, Google Maps took me through one of the most beautiful parts of the country I’ve never seen – rural Pennsylvania, with all of its farms and lush green and misty hills. And then central Virginia, full of mountains and green and not a boring, flat highway in sight. I absolutely love being in the mountains. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something I crave about being there. Asheville, NC and Maine are two of my very favorite places in the world.
So as I’m in this place in my life where I switch between having panic attacks over the uncertainty of the next five years, and daydreaming about where I want to move next, I’m torn. I want to move to New York, and I want to run away to Maine. I want to volunteer somewhere, but I want to work, but I want to go back to school. Once I decide that I want one thing, I change my mind. I’m nothing if not indecisive.
That weekend in New York, really, was one big joke. I drove from DC to NYC with some girlfriends, expecting lavish parties and spa treatments. Our plans completely fell through. We booked a hotel at 2 AM on Friday night. I ended up crashing with another friend on Saturday. Luckily I made it to my big sister’s apartment on Sunday, where we relaxed and made veggie sushi and miso soup (my first time making both!) with her boyfriend (man-friend?). We sat and talked and looked out over the west river, and she fed me raw chocolate pudding and homemade pumpkin seed milk (have I mentioned that my sister is AWESOME?), and hugged me when I cried about the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my life. That weekend, I expected one thing and got a something completely different. But what I got, I think, was exactly what I needed.
Yes, I believe in God. And, yes, I believe He has a sense of humor. I see it every day. And I’m trying to learn that I can speculate and daydream all I want, but I have NO idea what is in store for me. There are some things I’m expecting in the next few years – i.e. an epiphany where I see my life’s purpose flash before my eyes and discover the perfect career; maybe a rom-com story line (Are You There, Ryan Gosling? It’s me, Marian); some travel; and hopefully a bit more writing. I know that what I get will be something I can’t even fathom right now. But I know it will be right for me.
I had a long, beautiful, cathartic conversation with one of my best friends that Saturday night about this weird point in our lives where we’re young and ambitious and a little lost and sometimes lonely and there’s just a whole lot of uncertainty. And, yes, we talked about boys – many of our friends are married, or dating, or somewhere in between (and one is PREGNANT! Joy!) – and how it’s a little sad sometimes to be That Single Person. But I just kept coming back to the fact that I have a deep faith that, at some point, I’ll meet the right person for me. And I feel the same way about the rest of my future – where I’ll live, what I’ll do, who I’ll be.
So for now, all I can do is enjoy the ride. My life is about to change drastically in a few months, and part of me just wants to sprint to the finish line. To count the days until I’m finally free. But that’s sort of cheating myself, isn’t it? So I’ve decided to make the most out of the next few weeks – enjoy the little things, appreciate everything I can about Charlotte, and fill my days with fun and love and appreciation and work and, of course, good food and good friends. The future can wait. All I’ve got to do is work with what I have right now.