Love & Relationships – Partners & Patience

I want to preface this post by acknowledging that I wrote this a few months ago when I was feeling really lost and anxious when it came to love and relationships. I was putting a lot pressure on myself to make “progress” in my dating life. I felt like to make “progress” I needed to get into a relationship, or at least get closer to one. But I couldn’t control who I was meeting, and how we felt about each other. Ultimately, I decided to take a little break from dating. During that time I started to realize how much progress I actually had made. In dating the “wrong” people, I learned what I don’t want out of a partner, and, consequently, what I do want. I also learned that I don’t need to sit around waiting for a partner to bring romance into my life.

I decided to share this post now, because while I’m feeling much less angsty about my dating life, a lot of the sentiment still rings true. I have good days and bad days, which usually correspond with good dates and bad dates. Love and relationships is also something back in the forefront of my mind, with Valentines day right around the corner. In the spirit of not sitting and waiting for a partner, I decided to be my own Valentine this year. I bought myself flowers, and chocolate and bought myself gifts. It feels good and empowering to be able to do these things for myself, and it makes me a little less impatient.

I don’t know if there’s anything more profoundly frustrating than being single in your mid-late 20’s. 

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic. Sure, there are plenty more objectively aggravating aspects of life, but being single and dating in your 20’s has to be up there. Especially as someone who considers herself a strong, independent woman…and a bit of a hopeless romantic. 

There’s a part of me that’s content with my life. Actually, I am content with my life. I have a great apartment in a fantastic city that I’ve only begun to explore. I have friends nearby that I’m lucky enough to see regularly, and other friends farther away that give me an excuse to travel. I’m healthy and running regularly, and I’m fueling my body right. I have somehow begun to find little joy in each and every day. I have a good life, and I am happy. 

But still, I’m single. 

I have been enjoying going on dates every now and again. Dating hasn’t been high on my priority list, but it’s been fun, and a great way to explore different parts of the city and to try new and different things. I’ve gotten to a point where going on dates is pleasant and not painful. So that’s good, right?

Still, I go through periods where I feel hopeless, like I’ll never meet quite the right person. I think maybe I should be less focused on having fun and more dialed in on finding “Mr. Right.”

I know no of that is true, and that the right person will come into my life at the right time. I also worry that if I do meet someone I like, I’ll lose my sense of self, and I feel that I need more time to define myself on my own terms. Then I think that if I do take the time to work on myself and I become even more independent and self-assured that then no one will want to be with me. But, then again, why I would I want to be with anyone who felt threatened by someone who is secure in themselves. Better to be alone than to be stifled by the patriarchy, right? 

Or is it?

I’m getting to a point where all of my friends are coupling up, if they haven’t already. Some of my closest friends who I leaned on as my “single friends” pre-pandemic have now found themselves in serious relationships. While I am happy for them, I can’t help but feel jealous and impatient, because it feels like it’s never going to happen for me. And not only that, but as my friends couple up around me, there’s an unspoken pressure for me to do the same. 

Maybe it’s ridiculous and I’m just being dramatic (Me? Dramatic?!), but I have moments where I feel self-conscious and guilty for asking some of my coupled friends to hang out. Sometimes I just want a friend to get coffee with, or come over and watch a movie. Those things feel easy to do with my single friends, but when I look at my coupled friends, I see that they have someone to do those things with all the time, especially now that the more established couples are moving in together. Being in a relationship means having an automatic partner for all the little things in life. 

For the most part, I’m content to do things on my own. I’ve reached a point in my self-love journey where I can finally appreciate my own company. I enjoy my Friday morning walks to get coffee while I listen to one of my favorite podcasts. I even find joy in a quiet Saturday night, getting takeout and watching a movie or show I’ve probably seen a thousand times before. (Watching A Cinderella Story and falling asleep on my couch is one of my favorite hobbies).  

Most of the time I don’t even crave a relationship, I just don’t want to always be alone. 

Ultimately, I do want to be able to share my life with someone. I want to share the joy and happiness I find in each day with a partner who does the same in return. And so, as I tip into the latter half of my twenties, I begin to lose patience and wonder if I’ll ever find my person – my partner. 

I’ve seen how wonderful and full life with the right person can be, I’ve seen it happen for my best friend and her college boyfriend, now husband. I wrote a similar post over a year ago when she got engaged, and now I write again as I just attended her wedding. 

I wrote a year ago that I was okay with where I was in my life, that I was happy for my friend being in love and engaged, while also being happy and content with going through life solo. And that was true, and it’s still true. 

What’s changed in the past year is that I’ve begun to crave the kind of companionship my friends have. I spent over a year “working on myself.” I didn’t date, I wasn’t trying to meet anyone. I spent my time doing the things that bring me joy, like running, writing, exploring, taking pictures and videos to capture the little but very important  moments of life. As a result, I have a stronger sense of self and identity, and I’m happier than ever. 

So now I face the fears and frustrations of dating and seeking out a relationship in your 20s. 

The scary part about that is, it means I have to feel things. It means subjecting myself to potentially getting hurt. When I meet someone I connect with, I get my hopes up that this could be something real.

The problem is, I have yet to establish a connection where those feelings are reciprocated. It’s frustrating to put yourself out there, see the potential and hope it turns into something just to have those hopes crushed over and over again. I often leave a situation wishing I never met this person or I didn’t feel the things I do.

I’ve continued to see guys I don’t feel a strong connection or attraction to because it feels safer. I guess the hope is that feelings will develop over time, but in truth, I just don’t want to risk get hurt. 

Then, out of the blue, I’ll meet someone who makes me feel something special, and I rethink things. Sometimes I want to run away when I feel my heart skip a beat when he looks at me, because pursuing feelings like that means risking getting hurt. 

But, at the same time, I’d give anything to feel that way every day. To be inspired by someone. To feel heard by them, understood. To have someone special to share those mundane but beautiful moments with. Someone who sees life through the same beautiful and broken lens that I do. 

So I don’t give up. As frustrating and disappointing as it may be, I won’t give up. I believe in love. I believe that life can be incredibly special when shared with another person. And just because I haven’t met him yet, doesn’t mean he’s not out there. 

So I have patience. I trust in the universe, and I hope that my future partner is out there being patient too. 

Typically I write and share this posts with my friends, with the intention that they will relate. But this time I write because many of my friends don’t relate. Still, I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. If you’re reading this and you relate to the impatience, frustrations, and loneliness of being single in your 20’s, I want you to know that you’re not alone. And if you ever want someone to get a coffee with, I’ll be there, even if it’s just in spirit. 

I think that knowing you’re not alone makes the trials and tribulations of dating in your 20’s a little less painful. Because, at the end of the day, that’s all we really want, isn’t it? Someone who understands us and who we can share and experience life with. So, for now, we’re at least in it together. 

Long Live 2021

I’m not usually one to make a big deal out of New Year’s. I’d rather be up early on New Year’s day than up all night tossing back tequila shots or sipping champagne. New Year’s just isn’t my holiday. Yet this year I felt like I needed to sit down and reflect on 2021. 

This was a transformational year for me. Not in the one big pivotal moment that changed it all kind of way, but in the each day was an opportunity to change my life and took a chance on myself kind of way. 

From the outside, it might look like I made some drastic changes this year. I decided to leave behind my life in San Francisco and moved back to the East Coast permanently. I got my own apartment in a new city, I bought my first car, I started a new job, and I travelled to new places. It sounds like a fun and exciting year, right?

“I said, remember this moment, in the back of my mind”

Long Live by Taylor Swift

It was, but those big moments aren’t what defined my year.

The moments from this year that mean the most to me are the little ones. The walks I took to explore my new neighborhood. My best friend dropping off coffee and pastries to me after that marathon I ran. The drives around town with my sisters where we belted out our favorite Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo lyrics.

This year I built a life I love, a life I am so extremely proud of. Yes, those major life changes were instrumental in getting me here, but the little moments, the ones that often go un-noticed, those were just as foundational and all the more meaningful. 

So that’s really my takeaway from this year – appreciating the little everyday moments,  the ones were no one is watching – that’s what makes life so special. 

I used to be a dreamer.

My sister recently pointed out to me that I am a realist. I was taken aback, I’d always thought of myself as more of an optimist. I felt like for most of my life I generally saw the best in people or tried to make the most of bad situations; I was a positive person. It occurred to me, however, that somewhere down the line, that stopped being the case. I stopped seeing the world with a rose-colored tint, and began seeing things for what they were. I used to be a dreamer, but I’m not anymore.

I used to be a dreamer. I fantasized about the future, about what my life would look like, about what the world would be like.

But the world can crush dreamers; reality will eat you up and spit you right out if you’re not careful.

I wasn’t careful. For a long time anyway, I wasn’t careful, and and the world ate me up and spat me right out.

It took a long time, but I picked myself back up. I was shattered, but slowly and surely I began to put the pieces back together. Eventually though, I made the mistake of dreaming again. Then, as history repeats itself, reality took hold, and my dreams were one again nothing but dreams.

I had dream of what my life was going to look like in 2020. It was my year to get my life together. I’d finally picked up the pieces of heartbreak, work burnout, and personal insecurities, and I was piecing myself back together with glue and a careful hand. It seemed to be holding. So I began to dream again, I dreamt that I would once again be whole and functional. My dreams were less crazy than they were before the world broke me down the first few times, but they were still there.

Then, suddenly, the world stopped. Not just for me this time, but for all of us. My fragile pieces hit a brick wall and my cautious dreams came to a sharp halt. I didn’t shatter this time though, not completely anyway. I just new that if I wanted to get past this metaphorical “brick wall” I needed to leave my dreams behind. I couldn’t carry them with me. Not when I was still rebuilding myself to begin with.

So I did it. I climbed over that brick wall. I figured I’d find new dreams on the other side. And sure, there were fantasies there, but the climb left me too weak to pick any of them up. I couldn’t trust that I’d be able to carry them with me. I didn’t know if I was strong enough to deal with the fall out of inevitably having to drop them.

Now my life is changing again. As the world reopens post-pandemic, so do the possibilities for my life. This time however, I’m taking small cautious steps to a goal. Not a dream anymore, a goal. A desired life, but a real one, not a fantasy.

The difference between fantasy and reality is that I see the problems I will face. In a fantasy we don’t think about the downside, the risks. That is why I fell so hard when I came down to reality those first few times. No, now I see the obstacles. This is life, not a dream.

Still, I work towards my goals. Though, at times, I’m not sure how I feel about them. They are as bright and shiny anymore; they don’t look the same as they did when I was a dreamer.

I don’t get excited about things the way I used to because I’m terrified of being disappointed. My fragile state can’t take another blow. There are too many obstacles on the ground that might trip me up. I can’t risk leaving my head up in the clouds for too long, or I might stumble into something greater than I can handle.

It’s not fun to live like this, I don’t really like it, but it’s my reality right now. I’m pushing through, logically assessing situations, and still working towards my goals. Risks scare me. I don’t want to take risks, but sometimes I have to. I have to trust that I’m strong enough to risk dreaming again, even just a little. I have to trust that I can handle a fall and that, worst case, I now know how to put the pieces back together.

Moreover, I have to trust that the risks are worth a fall and that, overall, I’m on the right path. I have to believe that the universe has something amazing planned for me; something greater and more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed.

A Look-back on Life Before the Pandemic

Recently I’ve been thinking about what I want my life to be like once the pandemic ends. It may be just a fantasy for now, but, with vaccines being distributed I sense some hope in the air.

Before the pandemic I thought I was finally getting my life on track. I’d just accepted a new job that I was to start at the end of March. The new office was a short walk from my apartment and promised much better work life balance. I was looking forward to having more time spend with friends and to focus on training for the San Francisco marathon. I had family time on the calendar too – my sister was going to visit me in a few weeks from southern California and my parents and youngest sister had just booked flights out west from Connecticut.

I felt like everything in my life was finally coming together. 

Then, in the matter of days, it all unravelled.

Now, here we are, almost a full year later. We’re used to pandemic life now. Many of us are working from home, barely leave the apartment, and rarely wear anything other than sweatpants. Some are going to work, but they’re wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from co-workers. There are no Friday afternoon happy hours or meeting some friends at the wine bar to complain about how shitty our weeks were. 

The question is, do I really miss that? Do I really miss my life pre-pandemic?

For me, the feelings are complicated. Some weeks are filled with intense nostalgia for times that I never thought I would wish for again. Other weeks I think I’d like my life to stay like this forever. Most of the time though, there’s a balance. So I’m thinking, when life begins again, what will I want back, and what do I want to go without?

If you follow me on Instagram you may already know at least one topic that’s been top of mind – work. I asked on my Instagram story last week whether or not people were looking forward to going back into the office….eventually. The responses were, unsurprisingly, divided.

I also asked people to share their why– why they were or weren’t looking forward to going back to the office. My hope was to find some perspective on how others were feeling and maybe provide reassurance that we aren’t in this alone.

Still, regardless of how we feel or what we want, most of us aren’t going to have choice when it comes time to go back to the office. Our companies will say it’s time and we’ll go running back because we need our jobs, for better or worse. 

So, aside from work, what are some of the things that I miss about life pre-pandemic? What are the things that I will want to bring back into my life and what things will I want to live without?

New Friends. My favorite Instagram story response/argument for going back to the office was, “So I can make new friends.” It’s not just because the person who wrote this response just joined my team at work and I want to be best friends with her….no, pressure ;). It’s also because I’ve worked for this company for almost a year and have barely met my co-workers.

At my previous company I met some of my best friends and it’s hard now to not have friends at work. Even if I don’t find my new best friend at the office, it’s nice to just be able to build rapport and get to know the team on a personal level. At least for me, job satisfaction increases when I feel connected to the people I work with.

Happy Hours. Before the pandemic I actually started going to a Friday evening yoga class so I’d have an excuse to skip happy hour, or dip out early. I found that people are less likely to force you to take a shot when you’ve got a yoga mat in hand (shocking, I know). Overall though, I do miss happy hours. I don’t miss the excessive drinking and the pain I’d feel the next morning when I got up to meet my running group, but I do miss socializing with friends and co-workers. I hope that someday soon I’ll be able to grab drinks and bond with my new team.

Routine. If there’s one thing I miss the most about life pre-pandemic, it’s probably my routine. Since going remote, I’ve struggled with routine. It’s too easy to let myself sleep in or say I’ll just do it later when I know I’ll be home all day. Pre-pandemic though, I had the routine. I would wake up at the crack of dawn to workout. Some days I’d lift or take a spin class, but most days I ran. I’d run the Embarcadero and watch the sun rise over the Bay.

I miss it. I miss my walk from the gym to work. I normally hate crowds, but I miss the throngs of commuters stopped at the cross walk. I miss the random lady who paused to a minute to compliment me on my outfit. I miss settling into my spot in the conference room and making small talk with my team. I miss the walk home at night. I miss returning home exhausted, eating dinner, and then curling up with a good book as I dozed off to sleep. But most of all I miss doing it all again the next day. 

The Gym. While running has really gotten me through the pandemic, I miss going to the gym. Before all of this I was a member at Equinox, which according to it’s slogan, is even more than just a gym. “It’s not fitness, it’s life.” I have kept up an overall healthy lifestyle – I run, I strength train, and I eat a balanced plant-based diet. But I miss being around other people who do the same. I miss the community feel of being surrounded by other people who enjoyed spending their morning hours striving to improve themselves.

There are certainly many more things that I miss. It’s been so long there are probably little things I’ve forgotten how much I miss, like running into a friend on the street or smiling at a stranger. On the flip side, there’s one thing I don’t miss; the rush. I don’t miss pressure to constantly live a certain lifestyle, to always be out and about, to never take pause and reflect on what I’m doing and determine if I’m actually happy.

I’m grateful that the pandemic has given me this time to think and figure out what truly brings me joy. There were things in my life in March 2020 that weren’t serving me. I plan to leave those things behind and move onward to a better life. 

Outfit Details:

Moving Out & Moving On.

A little over three years ago I packed up my life on the East Coast and moved to San Francisco. Over the past few months I packed up again – this time to move back east and part with, if only temporarily, my beloved San Francisco.

December 2020 —

As we drove out to the airport and city lights faded into the background I couldn’t help but smile to myself. It was a bittersweet feeling to be leaving, like the sort of feeling you get when you finish a really good book.There were parts that made your heart throb and others that made your heart ache. There were other parts when you weren’t sure where things were going, and others when you were sure you know how the story would end. But then there was a twist, and then, suddenly, it was over. You’re not sure what to do with yourself now. To some extent you’re sad because the story is done and you’re not quite over it. It’s the kind of book that leaves you wanting more, but over time that feeling fades; you move on. Still, you’re so glad you read it. You know that, while the story wasn’t perfect and there were parts you didn’t like, the book changed you, if only just a little. 

There’s a good chance there will be a sequel to my San Francisco story. However, I know that if I do return, I won’t be telling the same story as I did the first time around. I grew tremendously throughout my three years in SF. As I move out, I am putting that piece of my life behind me along with all of my unrealized hopes and dreams for what I wanted to get out of my life in San Francisco. 

When I first moved to San Francisco I was idealistic about what my new “big-city” life entail. I would have the perfect job, the perfect apartment, the perfect boyfriend – that’s what an adult life should be like, right? I’d work in my “perfect” job and live in my “perfect” apartment until my “perfect” boyfriend and I got engaged. Then, we’d move in together and live happily ever after….or something like that. I didn’t exactly have all the details figured out, but that was the general idea. 

I did find a great apartment, with a fantastic roommate who I met through work. The job, however, was not as glamorous as I imagined. Not that public accounting is ever all that glamorous, but still. Overall I really liked my job. For a job straight out of school, I was working on some really interesting projects. I started work with a big 4 public accounting firm working with venture-capital backed companies. Most were kind of like the stereotypical software startups you picture when you imagine Silicon Valley (like HBO’s Silicon Valley). For being an accountant, what I was doing was pretty cool. I found the companies I worked with to be fascinating, and the laid-back tech culture was a good fit for me. 

However, I quickly learned that there were tradeoffs to having my “cool” job. Within just a month or so of starting work, I was thrown into an IPO. The experience was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. For the first six months I lived in San Francisco I worked on this IPO that required me commuting at least an hour and half to two hours each day, and working 12+ hour days. Between the long hours and commuting out of the city every day I missed out on a lot of the happy hours and events that my peers were partaking in. While other people were out building friendships and making memories I was stuck picking up coffee for my team and staring at excel spreadsheets until my head spun.

That stint of time that I worked on that IPO was arguably the most challenging time in my life. My hopes and dreams for a life in the city got a hard reality check. The long hours and work stress took their toll on my relationship. Not only that, but the reality of what I wanted out of my life in San Francisco, and life in general, evolved over that time.

I look back now on those first six months in San Francisco with fondness. Maybe it’s the “graduation goggles,” but really that time shaped my entire experience over the next three years. I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not gone through that. Hell, I might not be leaving San Francisco now had I not worked that IPO. 

But here I am, glad it happened. 

The stress and emotional rollercoaster I endured made me push aside the fantasy of a living a perfect life. It made me question who I was and what I wanted. It made me realize that, above all else, I needed to prioritize my happiness. Not the happiness of my boyfriend, or my co-workers, or my friends, or even my family. If I was going to be happy and fulfilled, I needed to make decisions that were truly my own. I needed to be independent before I could depend on someone else. I need to make sure that I am happy before I worry about what anyone else thinks. 

I think a lot of us experience, or need to experience, this sort of reality check. We have an idea of what life should be because it’s what we’ve heard from friends or seen on TV and social media. The thing is, the life we see on the screen isn’t our own. What makes someone else happy might not do the same for us, and that’s okay. It’s okay to have your life turned upside down for a while if it helps you figure out what it is you really want; what it is that makes you happy and fulfilled. That’s what San Francisco did for me.

Fast forward to today, and I am now leaving SF fully of my own volition. It wasn’t easy to make that decision, but it was my own choice – one where I was prioritizing my own happiness regardless of what anyone else thinks. I love SF, but right now I know that I’ll be happier if I’m closer to friends and family. 

My three years in San Francisco weren’t at all what I expected them to be, and I’m so grateful for that. I think I’d be miserable now if things had gone to plan. I’m grateful for the late nights I spent working on that IPO. I’m grateful for the wonderful and challenging teams I worked with during my stint in public accounting. I’m particularly grateful to the guys on that IPO team who helped me through a tough time (whether they realized it or not) through wall sits, Waffle Wednesday’s, and sneaking into bars to crash someone’s birthday party. I’m grateful for the subsequent heartbreaks and lessons I learned about love and relationships. I’m grateful to the roommates I had and am thankful that I always had a safe and stable place to go home to. I’m beyond grateful to the friends who became family while I was so far from home. Above all, I’m grateful to the city of San Francisco for all that it’s given me, and all that it’s taken away. 

I may very well be moving back to San Francisco in another six months, but it won’t be the same. I’m moving out and I’m moving on from the fantasy of the perfect life that I brought with me to the Bay. 

Sure, I’m terrified to start this new chapter. What if I’ve made the wrong decision? I’ll have no one to blame but myself. But here’s the thing about “wrong” decisions – there are always lessons to be learned. And with this one, at least I’ll have learned to follow my heart. 

While I may be leaving SF, these people won’t be leaving me. Thank you all for making the past three years so memorable.

Don’t go it alone.

Asking for Help: Frustration & Communication

Whatever is is you’re going through, you don’t have to do it alone.

This is something I often forget. Being independent can be my biggest strength, but it can also be my fatal flaw when I fail to seek help when I need it.

There are huge pros to independence – being able to do things on your own and being okay with being alone, just to name a few. Still, there are times in life when you can’t do everything yourself, and knowing how and when to ask for help is really important.

I know that when I’m stressed or frustrated – when I need help the most- is when I tend to push people away. People who want to help me. 

I’m learning that, to overcome these moments, communication is key. 

I’m currently in the process of moving out of my apartment in San Francisco. Moving in any capacity is stressful, but this move has thrown a few curve balls at me. For one, I’m not currently there. I have to figure out when I can get to San Francisco to physically move out of the apartment. I also have to factor in the fact that there is a global pandemic going on and I have to time things around two major holiday’s (Thanksgiving and Christmas), and my baby sister’s 16th birthday. Oh yeah, and I don’t know where I’m moving to yet, and when, or if, I’ll be moving back to SF. 

Like many young people today, I figured if I moved out of the city, I could save some money on rent for a bit. So, when my company announced that we’d be working remote for another 6+ months, moving out was a no brain-er. Right?!

Oh, but there was one little snag in my plan. As part of the remote work announcement, the company also specified certain states (for payroll tax purposes) where employees were allowed to work. It just so happened that Connecticut, where my parents live, and where I’ve been since May, was not one of them.

So, of course, I wasn’t going to be able to just move home to save on rent.

Still, with the guarantee of working remote until the summer, I wanted to be closer to my family. It was time to move out. 

Over the past week I researched moving companies, storage options, apartments in approved states close to my family. I made spreadsheets listing the items in my apartment that I’d need to move. I estimated costs of the items to determine if it made more sense to get rid of things than to pay to move it. I also researched furnished apartments, furniture rentals, and storage options. I talked to leasing agents for apartments, and representatives from moving companies. 

There were, and are, a lot of moving pieces, and it’s been a stressful week to say the least. 

But then the dust started to settle. I found a place in the Philly area that I might be able to live with my sister since she’s in school around there. I’d gotten a quote from a company where I’d be able to both store and move my things. So I could pack up and move out of my SF apartment, go home for the holiday’s, and then figure out where I’m going to live for the next 6 months. I’d also have the option to just store my things should I find a furnished place to rent. I locked in on dates with cheap flights that I’d be able to get back to SF with enough time to pack up my things and move out while also avoiding holiday travel and airport crowds. It was all falling into place. 

Except that I knew I couldn’t do it alone. 

The only downside was that the company I was going to use to store/move my stuff doesn’t do in-home moving. I’d have to rent a truck and bring my things to their facility. I like to think I’m pretty strong, but there’s no way I’d be able to move everything out myself, especially on a tight timeline. I could hire movers from a 3rd party, but that would be expensive and I wasn’t sure how comfortable I, or my roommate, would be with a bunch of strangers coming into our apartment given the pandemic situation.

I needed someone to help me. 

I tried to think of friends in the city that would be willing and able to help, but most of my close friends had already left the city. I could think of a few people who might be around, but given that I hadn’t talked to them much since March, having our first conversation in 9 months be me asking for help moving didn’t exactly seem polite. 

I thought of my dad, I figured he would want to come help me. He’d been itching for an adventure, so I figured a quick cross country trip might be just the thing he needed. A trip just to pack/move isn’t exactly the most fun or exciting, but it’s 2020 so we’ll take what we can get. 

In my mind I had it all figured out. I just had to confirm with my dad, but I was certain he’d jump on board. 

Expect that wasn’t exactly his response. Rather, an immediate “yes, of course!”, he asked questions, lots of questions. He wanted to know everything I just explained, and more. He asked about the different moving companies I’d talked to. He asked about the plans for a new apartment. He asked about the storage options. When I’d get my things. Where they’d be stored. He brought up points that I hadn’t thought to consider yet. 

Instead of listening to his considerations and answering his questions graciously, I got defensive. 

I’m an independent adult, and I’ve made my decisions. This is my move, I’m the one paying for it. I’m the one who did the research. Don’t question me. 

Those weren’t the exact words out of my mouth, but it was something like that, and it wasn’t exactly nice. It certainly wasn’t the way I should be talking to someone who I was asking for help. 

I needed his help, I knew that much, but I wasn’t letting him help me. By stamping my feet and saying “I’m independent,” I was pushing away what I really needed. 

Along with my choice words came all of the built up frustration and stress of trying to figure out this move on my own. The weight of it all was crushing me and by taking it out on my allies I was only making it worse. 

It took me a minute to calm down. I’m a crier, so of course there were tears. But once I was able to have a rational conversation, I felt much better. The weight of it all felt much lighter now that I had someone helping me carry it, both physically and emotionally. 

My dad brought up some good points about other options to consider. He offered to drive out and haul my things back in a trailer, since that sounded more fun to him, and it would be cheaper for me. The timing with the holiday’s was tough though, and we ultimately shot that down. We looked at my dad’s calendar together to make sure the dates worked for him. We booked flights together and made a strategic plan to sit an exit row since my dad likes the extra leg room. 

The conversation shifted from me saying “no” with a grimace, to chuckling as we recounted the story of how my brother’s oversized couch had to be lifted in through the window. I reassured by dad there’d be nothing like that at my place. We worked through the rest of the logistics together and everything seems much less heavy now. 

Asking for help isn’t a weakness. Rather, it’s a strength to know what weight you can and cannot bear. 

But someone can’t help carry your burden, if they don’t understand what’s wrong. 

That’s where communication comes in. 

I’ve learned that if I’m struggling with something, whether if be physical or emotional, it helps to tell someone about it. Sometimes I hate talking, but it can make a huge a difference.

I’m learning to ask for guidance and listen to what my friends and family have to say, because odds are they have insights and experience that I don’t have perspective on. Sometimes I just need to think through something aloud, or share enough just to get it off my chest. I’m grateful to have people in my life to help carry my load.

Still, I have to remember that asking someone to take on part of my burden isn’t a one-way street. I have to help the other person understand what it is I’m asking of them and why. That’s just part of maintaining any healthy relationship. I never want to let my frustrations and desire to be independent get in between me and my friends or family.

I know that I’m not perfect, and communication is something I’m always working on. Asking for help, in particular, is not easy for me. Still, I know it’s worth it. I know that I need the people in my life who love and support me, and I need to be there for them too. And above all, I know that even if I am independent, I can’t go through life alone; what a miserable existence that would be. 

The Quarter-Life Crisis

A quarter of a century later….

Being in your mid-20s is a weird time. If you’re in your 20’s you know this is true. We have some friends who go out and party every weekend (and week night), and we have other friends who are engaged and/or married…maybe they even have kids already. 

I’d like to think I’m a happy medium between the extremes. I don’t really go out drinking very much anymore – maybe once a week at most (before COVID, of course), but I could also not be farther from being engaged…let alone married. 

I recently celebrated my 25th birthday – the mark of the true middle of my 20’s.

Being in the middle of a global pandemic is a weird time to be celebrating something, but I was lucky enough to be at home with my family in Connecticut and they put together a lovely little celebration for me involving a few close family friends, a set of giant “2” & “5” balloons, and some delicious spicy margaritas. 

A few margaritas into my little birthday celebration I got a text from my college roommate – one of my absolute best friends in the whole world –she had gotten engaged. Abby, my best friend, and her boyfriend, Dan, have been together for ~6 years by now. They met the first day of class freshman year and after a year of “just friends” status they started dating. Fast forward six years later, Dan got down on one knee and asked Abby to marry him. 

I am BEYOND happy for Abby and Dan; their love story is one I hold very dear to my heart. I considered it a lovely gift to me that Dan and Abby would get engaged on my birthday. After all, I do credit myself a bit with them finally starting to date…but that’s a story for another time. Still, I couldn’t be helped but to think about how different my life was from Abby’s. We’re the same age, but we’re in very different places in our lives. 

I could not imagine being engaged right now. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t met the right person, or because I have been spending some time focusing on myself after my last relationship ended. Or, maybe it’s because I’m naturally independent, or maybe I’m less mature. But no matter the cause, it’s clear I’m just in a different place in my life. 

My true love.

My neighbors had a litter of dachshund puppies and let us “borrow” a few for my birthday festivities.

This got me thinking about whether one place was better than the other. Is being career focused better than being relationship focused? Is spending more time traveling better than being settled in one place? Is being engaged or married better than being single?

I would say no. 

About a week prior to my birthday my sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year. I told her all I wanted was happiness. Naturally, she meant as a gift, a physical present, but truthfully I didn’t want any tangible good, all I wanted was to be happy. 

And that’s why I don’t think any one lifestyle is better than the other, at 25, in your late 20s, or at any age. There is no one size fits all model for life, it’s about following your heart and doing what makes you happy. And that’s exactly how I am living my life. 

I was incredibly happy to be spending time with my parents, sisters, and close friends for my birthday. I was elated to get in a 6 mile run the morning of my birthday – and was extremely grateful that the oppressive June heat and humidity had calmed a bit that day. I am also happy and SO excited to celebrate Abby and Dan’s engagement (and eventually their wedding) because I love them both and I know that they are following their hearts and are happiest together. 

The fact that we each find happiness in our own way – that’s what matters most.