6 Days in Denver and Los Angeles

Since I’ve began this blog, I’ve always written some sort of monumental post on or around my birthday to reflect on the previous year because I like to see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve changed, and how much I’ve grown. It’s never a dull journey to get to where I am and thankfully, I have these blog posts to serve as a reminder that life doesn’t get any easier with age.

I just turned 25 about 2 weeks ago. A quarter-century old. A quarter-life crisis to come. Again, to no surprise, I have a laundry list of events that have happened in that previous year.

In the span of 1 year, I had 2 different jobs, lived in 2 different apartments in New York City, and broke up, got back together, then broke up (again) with my boyfriend.

When I turned 25, I was job-less, boyfriend-less, and at the border of a mental breakdown. It only seemed appropriate to take a trip to escape the realities of the environment that I was currently in.

On November 20th 2015, the Friday before my birthday, I was let go from my job – A “promising” position at a startup company that I had only recently started working at in September after being at a large Publishing company prior.

Clearly, it wasn’t a great fit for me.

The night that I got let go, after experiencing hours of complete and utter shock, I had decided that I needed to get away. I needed to travel. I needed to escape.

Please note, to fully comprehend what led to my course of action in taking this trip, I must summarize the events that took place prior. The following situations were brewing in the months leading up to my trip:

  • I left a stable job
  • I started a new job
  • I reconnected with my ex-boyfriend
  • I disconnected from my ex-boyfriend
  • I got into a 2-month long argument with my sister
  • I reconnected (again) with my ex-boyfriend in the wake of the Paris attacks
  • I re-disconnected with my ex-boyfriend
  • I got let go from my job
  • I turned 25

A person can only withstand so much before they reach their tipping point. And for me, I was just about there.

On November 21st, the day after getting let go, I spent 6 hours booking one-way flights from New Jersey, to Denver, to Los Angeles, then back home to New York City.

I left on Friday, November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving and just returned a few days ago, this past Thursday morning.

It wasn’t a long trip, but it was enough. 6 days in Denver and Los Angeles. It was exactly the right amount of time that I needed to process exactly what had happened in the past few months.

When I arrived at Denver International Airport, I hit the ground running, as I typically do when I travel. Whenever I’m in a different place, I always want to do anything and everything in order to take complete advantage of the time that I have wherever I may be. And boy, did I do that. To summarize the events in Colorado, this is what I was able to accomplish in 4 days (And these are only the events that I’m at liberty to disclose):

When I said goodbye to my friends on Monday, I was sad to go, but overwhelmed with excitement for the second part of my trip to Los Angeles. And here is a summary of the events that happened during my 3 days in California:

In the time that it took for me to emotionally breakdown, I was inadvertently able to revive myself through this trip.

Looking back, although this trip was much needed and an extremely pivotal point in my upcoming year(s) of growth, I must say that I am most grateful for the fact that it was such a safe and successful journey. On my last day in Los Angeles, the San Bernardino shooting also happened. I was an hour-distance from San Bernardino, California. I had no idea that was happening at the time, but I am now aware that I could have been and I thank God that I wasn’t.

You never know what’s going to happen in life. In a second, everything can change. Good things happen, bad things happen. You can never fully prepare for the obstacles that are thrown in your way. The best you can do is get through it and hopefully come out stronger.

At 25, I’m still alive. I’m still breathing. I’m still healthy. I still have much more living to do and I know I will come out of this stronger than ever.

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Roots

I wouldn’t say that I’m the most experienced person when it comes to traveling, but over the past few years, I’ve definitely broadened my horizons in terms of drifting away from the place I call home (New Jersey) I’m most grateful to my ex-boyfriend for inviting me to be more open-minded about venturing into the unknown. The first plane I ever got on was when I went to San Diego, California for my cousin’s wedding in 2009. I was 18 and a freshmen in college. Leaving for college itself was overwhelming enough and I was only a 45-minute drive away from my parent’s house. Even then, I didn’t make the cut with sticking it out for all 4 years there. I eventually transferred to Rutgers University, which was about a 5-minute drive from my parent’s house. So much for venturing into the unknown.

Now, getting back to the first time that I was on a plane; it was a pretty frightening experience for me to be honest. I was overly excited to even be inside of an airport. Growing up, my parents weren’t extremely wealthy and we didn’t have the luxury to take summer vacations like all of my friends did. As a child, I had never even gone to Disney World. DISNEY WORLD (A sad realization when I think back on it)

Going to California for the first time was one of the most memorable trips of my life. I was blessed enough to have relatives that took it upon themselves to pay for both mine and my sister’s plane tickets. We just had to take care of our own expenses once we were there. That trip opened my eyes to realizing that there was so much more than what I sheltered myself to.

Spring Semester of my Sophomore year of college, I met the man that defined my college love life. I dated him for three years, and loved him with every ounce of love that I had to offer. A majority of it was because I loved his spirit, his personality, his carefree nature. I always wished I could be like that. Throughout our relationship, he would surprise me with mini get-aways. Eventually, the mini get-aways became big get-aways. And they extended further and further. It opened my eyes, and we hadn’t even left the United States.

I’d like to publicly thank him for giving me those opportunities to explore those unfamiliar places. It gave me the courage to move to New York City and embark on one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever been on. But, it won’t stop in New York City. He planted a seed in my mind to be brave enough to travel to where-ever I wanted to go. I learned that traveling exposes you to learning so much about people, places, and more importantly, yourself.

I caught up with another high school friend yesterday and we ran through the typical routine of reflecting on old memories and then moved onto to conversation of updating him on how much has changed in my life and how different I’ve become since high school. I’d like to say that it was mostly just age and maturity that has changed me, but a large part of it also has to do with the fact that I left home to find out who I am.

I have a lot of friends from back home who like to do nothing, but tell me how ridiculous it is to live in New York City for various reasons; too expensive, too dirty, too crowded, the list goes on.

It upsets me to hear them say these things though because although many of their claims have proven themselves to be true, I appreciate all of it. I’ve been able to find myself in a place other than my home in New Jersey. I stepped outside of my boundaries, outside of my comfort zone. And for that, Brandon, I’m forever grateful. You’ve helped me become the person I am, and you’ll continue to help me become the person that I will be.

For all of my upcoming trips to where ever the destination may be, I know that I will continue to learn more about myself. The seed that was planted has strong roots and no matter how far I go, they will always lead me back home.

Home is Where the Heart is

A few years ago, while I was still in college, I wrote out a list of short-term and long-term goals that I wanted to accomplish after I graduated. Some of them seemed extraordinarily out of reach, but to my surprise, I was able to cross a lot off of my list. Among these things, my biggest accomplishment still stands as taking that leap of faith to move into New York City. I can’t emphasize enough how grateful I am for getting a job in the city, and shortly after, finding an apartment.

For the few months when I was commuting back and forth from New Jersey to New York City, I was miserable. I was cranky and irritated almost every day and I couldn’t wait until I moved out. I grew resentful towards New Jersey and living at home. I felt like I was missing out on everything that the city had to offer. I always had to rush home just to get enough sleep so that I could wake up and go back into the city the next day. It was exhausting.

When the big day finally arrived, I couldn’t be more excited to embark on a new chapter of my life. I couldn’t wait to leave everything and everyone behind from my “former life.” During the first month of living in New York City, I went out almost every night and definitely every weekend. I felt like I had an infinite amount of freedom. Eventually, the excitement fizzled out and “city life” just became regular life. Living in New York City was no longer this fantastical idea. It was reality. it was then that I began to miss home.

There were weekends when all I wanted to do was see my old friends, go home, and eat my parent’s food.

People always think that the grass is greener on the other side. Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, it isn’t. We fantasize of what life would be like in another person’s shoes. We want to explore uncharted territories and see what life is like somewhere other than that of what we’re familiar.

I love New York City and I love living in New York City. The only thing that the city doesn’t provide me with is the comfort of home.

As resentful as I was towards it, I can’t deny that New Jersey is my home and no matter what, it will always feel like home.

After all, home is where the heart is.

Burned Bridges

There’s something about moving to a new city that makes life so much more exciting. You get to experience a new environment. You gain opportunities to meet new people. When you leave everyone who knew you behind, you get to be anybody you want to be; far from who you were when you were home. You get to re-write yourself.

I’m back home in New Jersey for Easter weekend and as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t deny the fact that it feels great to be back here. There’s a level of comfort that you can only get when you’re at home. It’s that sense of familiarity that consumes us. It’s the feeling we get around the people who watched us grow up before we became who we are. That’s what I like at least.

Every time I come home, I can always expect the same thing because it’s the same thing every time I come home. Nothing here has changed and I think that’s why I left. Everything was always the same. I got too comfortable.

Whenever I come back, I think a lot about people from my past. I do this on my own anyways, even when I’m at my apartment in the city, but it happens more so when I’m back in Edison. It’s because of that familiarity. The roads that I used to drive on, the school that I went to, the park where I used to play. All of these places are linked to memories and people who once meant a great deal to me at one point in my life. I always get sad looking back on it because as I got older, I learned that it’s so easy to lose people. We grow up. We change. We go different paths. There’s a part of me, though, that really misses those people. This can be said for all people at the different points in my life, the ones who have been long gone and the ones who I’ve recently lost. They’ve all made me who I am today. I thank them for that.

It’s hard for me, sometimes, to accept the fact that you can’t just pop into someone’s life un-announced anymore. I get such an urge to contact people who I haven’t spoken to in months or years. Every time this happens, a rush of spontaneity overcomes me and I start this text that I end up never sending because I suddenly realize, we don’t even know each other anymore.

There’s an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” which coins the term, “revertigo” which is when you go back to being the person you were around someone who you used to know from your past. The reason for this is because you can’t really go off anything else. When you get to a certain point where catching up hardly seems possible anymore, you can only draw on shared past memories. There are a lot of people in my life who I could go without seeing for months, but once we reunite, it’s like we had never been apart for a day. But then, there’s people who I just have nothing in common with anymore. There’s nothing to say, only old jokes to stir up some laughter for a brief moment. These are the people I lose.

I’ve recently started noticing that every time I come home now, there are less and less people that I have an urge to contact. I can’t tell if it’s me, or us, or life. But I always ask myself, “At what point, do you just give up on someone?”

All relationships are hard work, whether it be a friendship or a romance. Someone has to care though. It has to work both ways. So what I wonder is this:

Do you stop trying once you’re the only one who is?

I’ve gotten to many points lately where I’ve realized that it’s just me on my own. Now that I’ve come back home and I can’t think of a soul to tell that I’m here, I wonder, am I done losing everyone from back home? Have I strayed that far since I moved to New York?

My pride gets to me sometimes. I think, well if they’re not contacting me, then I certainly shouldn’t contact them.

That’s how you burn bridges.

I feel that I’ve burned a lot of mine and when I go back to the island of Manhattan, there will be no way for my friends to get to me anymore.