After I moved from Arizona to California, I spent a few years saying “No, I’m not actually a Californian. I’m from Arizona.” I spent close to 20 years there, and my family and closest friends still lived there. I identified with the sparse, dry beauty of the desert, and even found the lush greenery of California unsettling and chaotic at times.
Over the years, I became very appreciative of all the unique beauty and activities California has to offer. I love being a short drive from the NorCal coast, San Francisco and the Napa Valley Vineyards.
The view from Coit Tower, San Francisco.
Miles and miles of beautiful coastline, no humans in sight.
Lately I’ve realized that my view of “home” has shifted. Now, I view California as “my place,” the place I belong. With that said, I can’t wait to fly to Arizona tonight and visit loved ones, see the cacti and mountains and enjoy a very warm Christmas.
My workplace is generous enough to offer the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day off for all employees. For months I’ve been looking forward to 8 straight days of peace and quiet, but as the time approaches I seem to be pushing more and more undone tasks into my vacation. Between Christmas shopping, flying home for holidays, hanging out with much neglected friends, running errands and a getaway trip with the boy, my 8 days straight has turned into…er…a day and a half.
So amidst all the frenzy, my challenges to myself are twofold:
First I want to enjoy the quality time spent with each of the people I love without worrying about future plans.
With the boy
With my friend Steph and her adorable family
With my childhood best, Allison 🙂
Second I want to create quality time with myself for reflection and relaxation. This will include a lot of this:
My goal is to start 2012 relaxed and happy even amid a frenzied pace.
Last night four of my close friends gathered to say goodbye to Claire and her roommate Maricor who are making their way to New York City by the end of the year.
We had a blast reminiscing together at Nick’s Crispy Tacos on Polk Street (which was packed) followed by a deserted sports bar down the street. Though I was sad to see one of my closest friends move away, I tried to stay in the moment and enjoy the evening.
I’ve seen many friends move away so goodbye’s are something I’m used to. But this one has affected me in unexpected ways and I realized it’s because she has taught me so much about how to be a great friend.
Here are lessons I’ve learned from our friendship:
1) Show up. Even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll be glad you did because showing up is half the battle in creating a lasting friendship.
2) Be understanding. This is one I struggle with. I want my friends to be there for me when I want them to be there. When I started Grad School and didn’t have time to see friends, she didn’t complain or guilt me about how I didn’t make time for her but instead said she was grateful for the little time we did get to spend together.
3) Have fun together. Instead of just getting together and chatting over a cup of coffee or over dinner, we always did things. We went out dancing, attended concerts and walked farmer’s markets. Doing activities together helped us bond.
Though these lessons may seem simple, seeing these lessons in action helped me see what a great friendship can be created when the right amount of effort is put in.
Tonight I’m saying “bon voyage” to one of my closest friends, Claire. For the past month, Claire and her roommate Maricor (who I’ll also miss dearly) have been selling their earthly belongings to move to Manhattan.
When I moved to the area a year and a half ago, I was shocked to get the first job for which I applied. It was a small start-up company, and Claire and I comprised the entire marketing team. We spent 9 months crammed into a tiny office together. This inevitably led to friendship.
Over the course of the past year and a half, she has become one of my closest confidant’s and I’ve really appreciated her support, acceptance and positive outlook. I’ve also appreciated the wine drinking, pizza eating and gossiping. 🙂
In the past few months quite a few of my friends have moved away. Losing Claire (albeit, so she can follow her dreams to the Big Apple!) made me think about friendships, and how important social interaction is to my feeling of well being.
Moving from Arizona 5 years ago to attend a tiny college in the Napa Valley, and later moving from the Napa Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area, I have made many close friendships, but my close friends are spread all over the country.
Sometimes it makes me sad that I don’t have many close friends who live nearby. But then I remember how wonderful the friendships I’ve made truly are and I know the support is there, whether it’s next door or across the country.
I will miss Claire’s presence dearly, but feel so blessed to be able to call her “friend.”
The last year has been, in no uncertain terms, turbulent. As I made large decisions in my life, I was faced with the stress of major life changes. I struggled to find the path I’m “meant” to be on and settled on “good enough for now” to pay the bills. The uncertainty, stress and lack of direction joined together to become a large obstacle, both mentally and emotionally.
Until a morning when I woke up and thought “Today will be different. I will make today different.”
I want more of this in my life:
Living in the moment
This blog will document my journey to a better 2012. As a 25-year-old woman who has struggled to settle into a happy adult life, this blog chronicles my journey to find balance in a natural, healthy way. And what better time than 2012 to begin?
I look forward to sharing my path to a happy life through healthy activities and lifestyle choices.