Do I have your attention? Ooh, I was a little hesitant about starting today’s post with this title BUT, when trying to think about how I wanted to capture the essence of this piece, I kept coming back to this statement.
So, I am going with it…and the “work in progress” me is saying “I can’t worry if it comes off offensive to anyone.” This is what I am feeling right now!
If you had asked me a few years ago that I would feel “comfortable” traveling across the country – not knowing anyone – for 5 weeks (oh, I shared on Facebook that I came with $18 in my checking account), I probably would have said “you are crazy!” I mean, sure, I have always LOVED California but, to pack up all of my stuff, and leave my family, friends, and the life I had built, just, well, did not seem very #fit4janine.
It’s interesting, bizarre, and kind of amazing to see how your thought process changes after you have gone through a major life change. Now, the very place that I have lived all my life is the very place that I want to get far away from. This is not me wanting to run away from my past life, and God knows it has nothing to do with me wanting to be far away from my family and friends, but it has more to do with figuring out the new ME (i.e. Janine 2.0) and not have the constant reminder of “what was.”
One of the things that I shared in my last therapy session [before I left for Santa Monica] is that, beyond seeing how I felt being in a new city (and across the country for that matter), was to, also, REALLY experience the feeling of being on my own and independent. While I have always been “independent,” since I was in college, I was in a relationship with my (now) ex-husband, and then married shortly after graduating. And, of course, before this point, I was still at home!
Long story short, I haven’t experienced being ON MY OWN since I first went to college over 10 years ago. Wow, it’s crazy to think…and even crazier when I write it out HERE!
Going back to the statement I said before, if you had asked me a few years ago that I would feel “comfortable” traveling and exploring on my own, eating BY MYSELF (eek) at a restaurant, drinking by myself (double eek) at a restaurant or having happy hour by myself at home, and, well, you know where I am going with this, I would have, again, said “you are crazy.”
I don’t know, there was something about doing “THAT” which felt unnatural. Who the hell knows why; maybe it was the story I was telling myself. Maybe I felt guilty? Maybe I would think people would look at me like “oh, that poor girl is all by herself?” Who knows, but it was a mindset (and a total myth) that I wanted to debunk and figure out myself. To be completely honest, there was something kind of liberating and exciting about this…the same feeling I had coming here with $18 in my checking account! Yeah, totally kidding about that one! Ha!
So, how is it going so far? I came to California with no expectations, guidelines, or even schedule. I wanted to take it one day at a time – really, one hour at a time. I wanted to experience the start of this next chapter through a different lens; a lens that has been very distorted over the last few years.
If I wanted to take a bajilllion fitness classes – okay! If I just wanted to stay in pajamas all day and watch TV/sleep – sounds like a plan. If I wanted to explore, have brunch (or dinner) on my own, go to the beach, attend the local, free events – more power to me! If taking my computer to the local cafe – man, I will feel uber trendy!
If I want to drink alone – and you can fill in whatever you want here – then it’s perfectly OKAY. Because there are no rules, no judgement, and no being anything other than your authentic self. And if someone is saying “oh that poor girl is all by herself,” well, my wish to be a semi-celebrity will have come true.
I mean, isn’t that what we do when we see someone famous…talk about them? 😉