This week I moved into my first one bedroom apartment in the city—my first time ever living alone. What I planned on being a very intentional and mindful move, including lots of journaling and reflection on what feels like a pivotal time in my life, turned into a week that was a little bit of a messy, well, shitshow. I laugh now, because I don’t know why I expected anything different. Being a human is just freaking MESSY, and I find myself consistently inspired by that messiness.
The first night, in the midst of unpacked boxes and sweeping and arranging and rearranging furniture, I found myself missing a love I had recently let go of. Sometimes I think we confuse missing someone with wanting them back, so I just sat there with the emotions and felt them. Instead of reaching out to said person that I was missing, naturally, I lit 10 candles and ordered Thai food and ate it in the bathtub, only to spend the rest of the evening scraping wax off the bathtub tile. I went to sleep and reminded myself it’s okay to grieve the loss of a person even when they weren’t right for you.
I woke up the next morning annoyed that I didn’t have all of the furniture I needed yet and that nothing was set up how I wanted it. I glanced over at the lone piece of paper hanging on my bedroom wall I had pinned up with a tack while unpacking the day prior—a Rupi Kaur quote that says “I will only have this version of me once, let me slow down and be with her.” Those words echoed in the back of my head deeply as I thought about my 27-year-old self who just moved into her very own apartment in the city and eats Thai food in the bathtub. Then I thought about my 50-year-self, and how pissed she would be at my 27-year-old self for not slowing down with her in that moment and being with her in the ache of longing for a lost love and takeout in the bathtub and unpacked boxes scattered on the floor of her first apartment all to herself.
So I slow down.
I slow down and I walk so, so slowly next to that version of myself and be with her. I hang my first piece of artwork on the wall, and instead of thinking about how big the wall is and how little art I have to hang on it thus far, I slow down. I smile. Be with her. I meet my new neighbor named Frank who is an 8th grade English teacher and writes poetry with his students, and I say yes when he invites me in for a drink. I forget about all of the boxes I have left to unpack and all of the trips to Target I have to make. I slow down. Be with her. I drink vodka and coffee liqueur that his boyfriend made from scratch with him on the rooftop, and instead of worrying about going home early because of all of the things I have to do in the morning, I slow down. Be with her.
We often want to rush through life so quickly, to rush through the moments that we don’t even realize MAKE UP our lives. The moments that make up who we are. The moments we’ll tell our daughters about. And then our granddaughters.
So I slow down.
I take my hand, walk right next to her, and be with her.