Glancing at the calendar last week I realized that seven years have passed since I graduated college. I'm not quite sure why but that number seven stuck with me through the weekend and into today.
Seven years. You know a lot of people go to college for seven years...Wait, wrong joke.
Seven years. I am sure this reflection is not that unique, nor that uncommon. These seven years have proven the most tumultuous and dramatic I've experienced thus far. Well, the first six were at least.
Seven years ago I graduated in the first place I ever really felt at home. There are names and faces I will forever hold near and dear that I associate with my time in New Brunswick. Most of these names and faces were never close friends, just similar souls.
Seven years ago I felt at ease with the people around me for the first time in my life. No longer the new kid. I grew and developed a core group of friends that I spent my nights talking to on front porches, near entrances to basements somewhere in New York or New Jersey. Maybe even Philadelphia. These friends struck me as like minded. Not yet set on one path, perhaps a bit too neurotic, preoccupied by experiencing life, able to laugh loudly. Over time these friends became less familiar, the reality of adulthood taking hold, making it harder to keep in touch and stay present in one anothers world.
My grandmother suffered a stroke and died. I chose to leave this town I felt so at home in and found myself completely lost somewhere in Bushwick. Unemployed, lonely and totally unsure of what I had gotten myself into. I moved on and moved home to put the pieces together. Within weeks I was back in NY, my first "real" job after college.
Time marched on. I moved in with my boyfriend. His mother passed away a few weeks later. My best friend skipped town and found herself in the throes of an existential crisis somewhere in West Philadelphia. Another friend fled to Vermont. Another to Oregon.
Jobs changed. I put on some 25 pounds worth of unhappiness. By the end of 2009, I was looking to make some moves without really knowing which moves to make. Set to kick off age 25 as my best year ever.
A week before my 25th birthday, my laptop died a few days before my MA thesis was due. Like the self-serving grad student I was, I cried. On January 4, I lost my job. The layoff felt personal. Determined to one up my former employer, I fell from grace that spring in a flurry of rejection letters from PhD programs. Three years into my relationship, things continued to flounder. To this day I'm not sure we every actually liked the other.
I found peace for awhile working for an elderly law professor and his sociologist wife. Serious treadmill time, Pilates classes and a lovely nutritionist helped me shed the 35 pounds I gained after college. Five years after graduation.
My job took me to Miami, my relationship to Paris, my passions to another disappointing round of PhD applications. Even with an acceptance letter in hand, it felt wrong. I decided not to go to the dismay of my ever-patient parents. I felt good about myself for the first time in years. Work was slow but summer was near and I had lots of plans.
By the beginning of July I could tell something was amiss with my on-again, off-again, who could ever tell significant other. I realized he was dating a friend of mine. Someone I respected, someone I asked for advice. Someone I thought was mature. I was wrong. Things got ugly. I spent a lot of nights sleeping on the linoleum floor of my best friend's sub-level apartment.
I moved back to Bushwick. The end of 2011 gave way to 2012 and I got a whole new lease on life. My apartment kind of sucked. Dealt with family drama. Got bed bugs. Met someone new. Bought a house. Switched jobs. Made new friends. Lost old ones. Wrote this.
So seven years.
My resume is already pretty extensive. So are the number of miles I've logged driving solo and in the company of loved ones. As it is, I've lost plenty of things along the way. The boyfriend, best friend, a few other friends and a number of pounds. Most of the people I started off with seven years ago are now casual acquaintances. A few remain. New ones appear every so often.
In seven years I learned that I am not the best person on the planet but I am far from the worst. That I am much happier hanging out with my dog and boyfriend than competing for attention. That I don't want to live my life online. I decided somethings have to go. For now that includes this blog.