Look at me being worldly and not-at-all-touristy in London.
So I've got nothing inspirational or smart right now except that the past week has been one of the best and worst of my life. And it feels hot and awful and so good to know that I have the ability to feel this way at all. Because the last time I left New York was under similarly difficult circumstances and I think I just blanked everything out and flew to Bali without even telling anyone. So mature, 25-year-old Lauren!
This week, I said goodbye to my Grandmother who helped raise me, quelled my boredom almost everyday during summer vacation, and was the only adult who actually hurried to find her purse when the ice cream man jangled down her street. She taught me how to pick blackberries from the wild bushes behind her house, and she helped me clean fallen deer antlers so that I could take them home and my mother could promptly throw them away. She taught me to be a fierce card player, and always lost in Connect Four so that I could win. She let me tease her mercilessly and she never got mad. Except for when she did and then she'd go into her room and yell at the mirror instead of at me. I am sure she is responsible for my insatiable sweet tooth. She was a fantastic lady and my time with her will never be forgotten. It has made me the nurturing, emotional, funny person that I am today. And I will miss her so much.
I said goodbye to my home for the past five years. Up until this week, I was so ready to leave New York. Eff you, terrible lady on the subway who stands right in the center of the door when I try to get on in the morning. I'm outta here and I don't have to deal with your neck snapping EVER AGAIN! But it was a terribly emotional realization that it was another chapter in my life that was ending. It was akin to the way I felt when I left college: I know the streets in New York, I know the subway system, I know the Central Park loop like the damn back of my hand. Ugh, Central Park. I remember when I was dating the guy who lived abroad who taught me how to surf and I was so confused by his antics and his crazy Dutch-Aruban accent that I would go run for six whole miles and not be able to sort out a thing about our relationship. Central Park was the cheapest form of therapy that I ever experienced. And by the end of 2009, I was wicked fast.
New York, as much as I put it down and get mad at it and want to live somewhere uncomplicated for a while where I am perhaps a big fish in a little pond instead of the reverse, it has very much become my home. Not to say that I can't find a new home (I've done it twice before) but this is one that has been rife with so much personal and spiritual and emotional growth that it will be difficult to close the door on New York -- at least for the next six months.
And I said goodbye to some amazing people. To some roommates who made me really realize how amazing true friendship can be. How we can go through breakups and new boys and terribly drunk Saturday nights and dance parties in sweatpants and stopped up toilets and sinks and mice and other life ruining vermin (They Who Must Not Be Named) and all that other shit and come out funnier, more humble, and only a little bit more neurotic than before.
Thinking about it like that, I remember in 2009 and early 2010 I was traveling a lot. I traveled almost every weekend to visit friends and various pseudo-boyfriends. I was trying to find someone to rescue me from the difficulty that was my own life. And then in 2011, I traveled hardly at all. I stayed around and built relationships and really stuck my meathooks into New York. And now that I'm leaving I truly understand what a beautiful place it can really be. All of us, just trying to make sense of our lives, feeling like were in this whole big shitstorm together.
They say you can never really appreciate something until it's gone. The next few months will be excruciating and transformational and exhausting in a different way than New York was. And I'm so excited. Perhaps it will show me that my true path is somewhere out west. And maybe it will show me that New York isn't that bad after all.