I am overwhelmed. That's not the first time I've confessed that, I know. I keep thinking I will catch up and my calendar will clear and I will have time to take a deep breath before diving in again. I'm realizing it's not a matter of catching up or waiting for my calendar to clear. It's not that I'm busybusybusy and just have a lot things to check off a list. (Actually, it is that in part, but it's more, too.) It's a sense that I am fumbling around in the dark; it's a fear that I'm acting without the guidance of priorities and values; it's a whole lot of uncertainty and newness.
It is a whole lot of uncertainty and newness. It's still a new city and new school and new apartment (times two) and new roommates (times two) and new job and new classmates and new acquaintances and the list goes on... Do these types of transitions get harder as one gets older? Or is it just that I've had quite a few of them pile up in my twenties - central NY, VT, ME, CT, DC, and NYC?
I went to Maine this past weekend to hug my friends and try on bridesmaid dresses and drink coffee I love and order food at places that still know my name and pick up old conversations where they last left off and remember what winter looks like with snow and hold on so tightly to people I love. To who people who love me. It was easy and free and joyful. To know and be known.
Still, I am happier living in NYC than I was living in Maine. My life in the city fits better, gives me more room to breathe, more room to grow, more room to love. "Do you miss Portland?" he asked from California over facetime while I stood in his kitchen. "Yes, but I love New York," I told him. His answer? "I know." They all know, we all know, and maybe that is why I returned to the city Sunday evening and proceeded to spend the past two days again feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and uncertain. How do I even begin to build a life here that sustains my love of this city?
I thought it meant saying yes and yes and yes to almost everything but especially to things that involve the possibility of new friends here in the city. I miss my far-away friends. That's something I could confess almost every hour of every day.
Tonight, as I faced yet another attempt to find people in the city who might come to know me the way my far-away friends know me, I realized that only some form of myself would show up at the event tonight. Some cranky, exhausted, overwhelmed, uncomfortable shell of myself would try to smile calmly and listen intently and speak intelligently. I would think about every movement, every syllable, and every reaction while completely ignoring everything I was feeling. Well, that's a solid way to perpetuate my feelings of disconnection that I've had lately. Hrmph.
So I decided not to go. I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, uncertain, uncomfortable, disconnected, and I miss my friends. I don't feel like going. And I think that's fine. Nobody is counting on me going other than the office assistant who took my formal RSVP and the kind-of co-worker who talked me into going but never really followed up with me. I'll feel guilty about it for a while I am sure, but right now it's more important to me that I stay true to my feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted, uncomfortable, etc, etc, etc. I've ignored them long enough, hoping they would just go away. They didn't, so now I think it's time to direct my attention their way and hang out with them a bit.
And maybe after I've spent some time listening to those feelings and getting some sleep and checking things off my to-do list, I'll be in a better headspace to make a nearby friend or two. And maybe, little by little, I'll build a life here that I love as much as I love this city.