I’ve begun, or been tempted to begin, an inordinate number of recent posts (and recent thoughts) with the phrase “last year” or “two years ago” or even, in the ultimate sign of nostalgia, “when we graduated from college.”
As in: Oh, it’s early May. Last year, I was attempting not to cry as a marathon day of apartment hunting turned up only peeling paint and claustrophobic bedrooms and tenants with questionable standards of hygiene. And: Hm. It’s mid-May. Two years ago, I was getting ready to welcome my new summer roommate by crashing the Georgetown senior ball, abusing the open bar and turning both my and my friends’ nights into a miserable drunken mess. Or: Jesus, is it really May 13? Three years ago, we graduated from college, and then I boarded a plane to Europe and obsessed over a former boyfriend, not knowing my current one was waiting for me on the other side of the Atlantic.
I swear it’s this spring weather, which always makes me prone to a fleeting glance (or long gaze) backwards. The thermometer hits 70 and suddenly I’m orchestrating my own personal music videos to Phoenix in my head, ones that tend to screen out the pushy landlords and vomit and “wow, I was totally not over him,” in favor of sugary slideshows and warped memories. I let the past play out in my mind and I analyze how far I’ve come and I think about how good the sun feels on my face.
(I promise you I rarely pull this shit when it’s cold outside.)
I understand that all of this makes for a lame read during the warmer months. I, and I’m sure many of you, much more enjoy reading about people losing their shit than people getting it together. But the truth is – one year, two year and three years out – May looks relatively rosy from where I’m sitting.
I’m sure part of the reason is that it’s finally a sufficient temperature to justifying having ice cream after every meal, which improves my mood immensely. But I also think I generally have this reaction around springtime because the season tends to mark a full year of whatever changes and challenges I decided to spring on myself the spring prior. Spring ’08 marked my first year out of college, my first year getting used to life in DC and life as a grown-up. Spring ’09 marked my first year really on my own, still without Dave and now without my best friend, who was by my side always for that first pro-grad leg. And this Spring means I’ve been in Philadelphia, now with Dave but with even fewer friends, to start at least, for nearly a year.
So the season, for me, always seems to mean that I’ve found my footing, whether it be with a new writing gig or twice-weekly Indian dance class or just a few girls I can grab that seasonally appropriate ice cream with.
The blatant redundancy of this internal springtime feelings-fest makes me embarrassed to admit that it’s taken three of them for me to realize what’s probably The World’s Most Obvious Lesson, which is, of course: this shit take time. Of course these arbitrary and insanely premature deadlines that I set in my head – like, six months to find enough friends to field a football team! go! – are a recipe for disaster. Of course it takes a little while to get adjusted to a new city, a new job, a new roommate. I don’t know why I’ve insisted on having these semi-lonely, semi-stressful falls and winters, only to be consistently surprised when the 10 month mark roles around and everything clicks into place. Like, duh. This Shit Takes Time.
So, that’s my spring epiphany. Give yourself a break, and try to refrain from freaking the hell out when things don’t immediately embody the perfection you imagine for yourself. Because if you hang around long enough, I promise you’ll eventually have enough fodder for all your imaginary music videos. And then some.