The beauty of the pause.

Well, we’ve almost made it. In a few days, February will be over. We Northerners will rejoice in that. The start of this year has been a rough one. I feel like I’ve lived through the hardest winter I will ever experience. I am blessed in the fact that I can leave whenever I want, but I also feel the harshness that much more when I return. Not so much from the weather, but from the weighing down that this terrible winter has been inflicting on my friends and loved ones. Someone told me at the beginning of Fall that it was going to be a dark, dark winter. Wow, was that someone right or what? It seems like a lot of people around me are fighting a good fight to stay sane and serene this winter. I will not lie, I’ve been doing much of that myself.

Why is change so hard? Why do we resist it so? This has been the best six months of my life, but it’s also been the hardest six months of my sobriety. I feel stupid and ungrateful for complaining. Not that long ago, I was in an ugly place and was beginning to feel pretty apathetic about my recovery. As much as I didn’t want to, I decided I had to start getting honest about my struggle. I’m still not quite as grateful as I’d like to be, but I’m getting there. At least I am going to more meetings now and doing my best to stay honest with people.

This evening I am in Salt Lake City. I had a long day of work, but it was beautiful here when we landed, so I went for a walk. I treated myself to a delicious dinner before getting myself to a meditation meeting. I had 20 minutes of complete silence and I listened to others share about their struggles. Now I am sitting in my hotel room listening to new music and feeling more like myself than I’ve felt in a while. I’ve been wanting to write in my blog for weeks now but it never seems to be the right time. Tonight, though, it feels right.

Nighttime is my favorite time to write. But I have found that it’s hard to make space for that now that I am sharing my space with someone else. Cohabitation. WHOA. What a weird and wonderful thing. I could tell you how much I’ve struggled with it and also how much I enjoy it, because it’s a lot of both. Ups and downs and Highs and Lows. Basically, all I’ve done for the last few months is feel crazy. We have both been sick a lot, we are both suffering with some seasonal depression, and we are both getting to know each other’s quirks. There’s good stuff and there’s bad stuff. It’s just a lot of change, and I don’t like change. I especially don’t like change when I am not taking care of myself or my recovery. As of the last week or so though, things are looking up for both of us.

After having such an uneasy winter, with so much change, we decided to make a wise decision and hang tight in Chicago for a little longer than we had originally planned to. I had to take a few weeks to process this before writing in my blog about it. I am still bummed about it, but a few weeks ago, I was REALLY bummed.  Moving to Oakland has been my entire focus of the last year. And it was only once we surrendered to the idea of being responsible and staying put a little longer, did I realize that that is probably why I have been so crazy. I wasn’t ready to go. But I was so focused on how good it would feel (and look, of course…) to start fresh somewhere that I didn’t even think about how painful it would be to leave a place and people I’ve loved so much. I’m still going to leave someday, probably sooner than later, but I’m not going to leave without tying up some loose ends and making sure that no bridges are burned behind me when I leave.

I am silly, because I had all kinds of ideas about what people in Chicago would think when I told them I wasn’t leaving so soon. But you know, all I got was love. And when I told friends on the West Coast that I wasn’t moving as soon as I thought. Of course, I was nervous about what responses I would get, and there it was again: Love. Just love. Not anger, nor sadness, or judgment. Just love.

How lucky am I though, really? My friends in Chicago have really made my heart burst the last few weeks. They’ve welcomed me back to the present with loving arms. Only for me to discover that they were cheering me on in my plans to move but all the while so sad at the prospect of my departure. I didn’t realize how sad they were to see me go until I told them I was staying. It made me feel so blessed.  And now that I’ve settled into staying for another Chicago summer, I’m feeling happier than I’ve felt in months. I will not let this Chicago summer fool me into staying another winter though, I will not. I cannot. I know that there is a little apartment in the East Bay that will be perfect for J and I when it’s perfect for us to go. And I believe that when it’s right, everything will feel right. Just as everything did not feel right, a few weeks ago.

Growing up sucks sometimes. But only if you really want it to. I’m learning this and I’m grateful for the lesson. For now, I’m going to try to stay present and focused in this place that I am in. Josh and I have a big beautiful apartment in Chicago with painted walls and a balcony that we can hang out on when the weather gets nice. I can grow my beloved plants this summer when the weather gets warm. I can go to the farmer’s market and say hello to the vendors that I’ve grown to know and love the last few years. I can keep drinking Intelligentsia coffee and hanging by the lake with my friends. And whenever I feel like it, I can hop on a plane and go to San Francisco and hang out in Dolores with my West Coast friends. So there’s that and I am grateful for all of it.

Thanks for all the love, friends.


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