St.Louis: Part I
I’d be willing to bet that with every major life change, even the bravest of people experience that moment when they wake up and think “Oh my God, what have I done?” My moment hit me like a freight train the morning after my mom left. We visit our family in St. Louis every year (often multiple times a year) so having my mom here made it feel like any normal vacation.
But then she left.
I woke up the next morning surrounded by my own things but in a room, in a city that wasn’t my own at all. It didn’t feel like vacation anymore. For the first time in a long time I didn’t have friends around me. I didn’t have plans. I didn’t even know how to get to the grocery store. It just felt sticky. Like sludge. Like I just wanted to be back in Bali where I could breathe.
I promised myself a five-minute pity party before I kicked my big-girl butt into gear.
The thing I need to constantly remind myself is that change – significant change – doesn’t come with the occurrence of a single event. It’s the patient falling together of all of it’s individual pieces. I tend to rush things. I’m a millennial. I like instant gratification. “Ok, I’m here! Why don’t I have 100 friends yet? Can we get classes over with? I just want to graduate and get a fancy job and buy a house on the beach already!”
For the most part, I’m forced to exercise patience (even though it hurts.) But every once in a while, in spite of all of my whining, I get really, really lucky.
Because my pity party didn’t survive a chance the moment I walked into Llywelyn’s Pub that Thursday night.
Now, I have always tended to enter social situations with the gusto of a two-legged turtle. I’m like the little kid that clings to his mom’s legs and buries his head in her butt because he’s too shy to look at people. “Don’t see me! Don’t see me!” But somewhere along this journey I decided that by hiding myself from other people, I was really just hiding from myself. I didn’t know who I was because I was too afraid to show her face in the first place. Somewhere along this journey things started changing and I decided I was going to change too. No more walls. No more legless turtle. No more mommy’s butt. Llywelyn’s Pub was the first social gathering of our new MBA class. And you know what? Change must look good on me because I had instant friends before I was through with my first beer.
Enter Mr. Aim For Adequate, The Kid Who Threw Up On Himself and 30 of our newest friends.
Within minutes of meeting at the bar we were having conversations about A Beautiful Mind and the origin of hazing and how we really had no idea what the hell we wanted to do with our lives. If you didn’t know better you’d think we had all been friends for years. By the end of the night Mr. Aim For Adequate bought us Jaeger bombs and The Kid Who Threw Up On Himself really did throw up on himself. Mid-sentence. And continued on as if nothing happened. I should side-note to say that I realize I’m not doing anyone any favors by admitting these things. But chaos and adolescent behavior aside, I had one of those slow-motion moments of clarity when I felt nothing but complete pride and joy. Yes, we were all a little rough around the edges. We’re all nerds at heart (it’s a requirement here.) We’ve been over-worked and under appreciated and if we have to be smart for the next two years then we might as well have some fun too.
A few days later we were all sitting in class together for the first time. Even though life feels a bit like drinking from a fire hose now, there is a great energy here. I’m lucky to have ended up in a community of people that I really click with. But the instant gratification can’t all be luck. I know that I have really pushed myself beyond my limits of comfort over this past year and a half. I’ve forced myself into situations that, at first, may have felt sticky and sludgy and suffocating but ended up feeling unequivocally liberating. I have to remember to maintain a level of patience, of course. But life’s individual pieces have this funny way of magically gelling into one big beautiful picture when you’re really convicted in who you are and what you do.
Stay tuned for the next few posts: The St. Louis S#!T To Do List and what life is like living with my 93-year-old grandfather….