A close friend once observed that he feels I have a "grass is greener" outlook on life - that is to say, wherever I go, I idealize where I've been or where else I could be. While I don't necessarily agree with him that this is, like, my primary worldview, I have since tried to become more cognizant of the times when I catch myself thinking this way so I can redirect my brain to stop - and to love my life as it is.
I've been thinking about this lately as I try to adjust to life in New Jersey. I'm only moderately embarrassed to admit that I miss New Hampshire so much that it hurts - & yet, I know full well that I didn't love my life there as I was living it. I spent days - weeks, months - feeling lonely & disconnected. I went days without speaking to anyone but baristas & grocery store employees. I dressed up for the sake of dressing up, knowing no one would see me that day. My only friends were through Skype & text, Twitter & phone calls. I made plans to live a bigger life - to get involved, to meet new people, to do - but I never followed through with them. Instead, I dreamed of a day when I'd get out of there & move onto something better.
"Something better" turned out to be New Jersey.
And? So far, I borderline hate New Jersey. It's dirty & congested & disjointed & people keep telling me I should like it, but I just don't. Maybe I will eventually. But for now, all I can think is that I don't want to live in New Jersey. I've never wanted to live in New Jersey. It's perfectly fine, I suppose, but it's not a place where I have any interest in living. Nathan, of course, has to stay here... but do I? We've been discussing the possibility of my moving to NYC, which fills me all at once with both relief & terror.
But I have to wonder: Will moving solve anything? I wasn't making the most of life in New Hampshire, & now I'm not making the most of life in New Jersey. What makes me think I would make the most of a life in Brooklyn? I seem to expend a lot of emotional energy waiting for things to fall into place - to be in a place I want to be in so that I can start living a life I want to live.
I recently Skyped with my friend Will, who up & moved from Boston to Asia to teach English. He's spent been there for a month now & has spent every weekend since he arrived traveling to different provinces, seeing the sights, living it up. Sometimes he goes alone, sometimes he brings friends - but the point is that he goes.
I have another friend, Juli, who makes new friends everywhere she goes. She met one of her best friends on an airplane when they were seated next to one another, total strangers. She seems to know someone in every city, have a life wherever she goes.
And then there's Micaela, who did humanitarian work in Uganda & Rwanda before heading to grad school in California. Micaela spends almost no time worrying about details or "what if" scenarios. She is always upbeat, always friendly, always happy.
These friends - I want to be more like them. Instead of sleeping in on the weekends, eating cereal & moping about not knowing anybody in New Jersey, perhaps it's time I start doing things. Going places, talking to strangers, falling in love with my life. I may not fall in love with New Jersey - but then again, maybe I will. The point is, it's time to start loving my life as I live it.