Home > Boston...again. > No matter where you go, there you are.

No matter where you go, there you are.

I finally came out of my self-induced funk today. At least a little. Ever since the Great Job Mishap of 2010 I’ve been keeping to myself. Laying low to the ground. Reshaping how I think about finding a job, living in Boston, etc. It didn’t help that I’ve been sick for a week now (to the point where it was difficult to lift my head). I let a few too many discouraging thoughts slip in for comfort.

Getting out of my apartment and throwing myself into the city makes me so happy. It’s like exercising: Sometimes it takes a lot of effort, but in the end it’s totally and completely worth it. When you’re sick/tired/sad, it’s difficult to want to make the effort. Which means you stay in and feel worse. Which makes for a vicious, miserable cycle. So today I got out. I didn’t have a particular plan in mind, but I figured I would (as usual) start at the bookstore and figure out where to go from there.

Too bad I stayed at a bookstore for 7 hours. Yes. Seven.

I knew today was going to be amazing when I hopped on the T this afternoon. The driver was exceptionally excited about his job. And really, how can you not be happy about life when the man who drives the train is wishing everyone a good day over the loudspeaker? And asking if anyone has a birthday, and if someone does have a birthday today, could they please come to the front of the train so he can properly wish them happy birthday? Oh, boy. It definitely got everyone smiling.

I had the added pleasure of having an interesting seat-mate on my journey to the Prudential Center. A man sat next to me with an inch-thick envelope on his lap. He pulled out the contents and starting reading through the pages. They were notes from interviews with people who were applying to freaking Harvard Medical School. Geez. That makes my mediocre journalism degree look terrible in comparison. After he read each transcript from the interview he would go to another page that listed each person and then would either put an up or down arrow next to the name. I saw people’s medical FUTURES decided in front of me. It was great.

At Barnes and Noble I grabbed my favorite drink (a grande extra hot chai, remember?) and then started searching for a book/magazine to read. As I’m in the middle of a great book now I didn’t originally intend to get caught up in another. I wanted something I could “half-read” if you will–meaning I needed to read something that didn’t require any extra effort or thinking. And this title caught my eye: Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single.

Sounds perfect! A guaranteed chick-lit read. So I snatched up the book and went in search of a good seat. Although my table-mate was less than desireable (an older man reading UsWeekly and grinning lecherously at me) I managed to snag a seat at my favorite. It’s at a table that overlooks the busy street below the Prudential Center. I turned my chair around so  I could prop my feet up on the windowsill (and thus not be distracted by anyone walking around) and settled in for what I thought would be a little while of reading.

Ah. But then that little gem of a book turned out to one of the best things I’ve read in quite some time. Here’s my favorite quote: “I’m trying to look on the bright side, and I will. As soon as I find it.” Perfection. The book was so good.

And funny too, unfortunately. It’s unfortunate because I am the type of person who refuses to laugh out loud for no apparent reason in public. So this is what ensued:

(Something funny in the book)

Me: Snort-giggle. (Trying to be quiet. So I squash my laughter into my scarf.)

Then I glance around to see if anyone noticed, which of course they have.

(Something else funny.)

Me: Giggle-snort-giggle. Major coughing fit ensues from trying to stifle laughter. Still reading. Begin uncontrollably giggling at the inappropriate things going on in the book.

People staring. Table-mate leaving. (Good.) Guy next to me looking over his shoulder. People stopping. More staring.

Me: Laugh.Out.Freaking.Loud. And it’s not a cute laugh either. It’s a constant, awkward, giggle. I am that person. The one in quiet coffee shops or bookstores that you hate because they won’t shut up already. Yeah…hey.

And so on.

Suffice it to say that book was entirely enjoyable. So enjoyable that I spent seven hours reading it today. And finished it. Three hours in I took a break and decided it would only be fair to switch from Barnes and Noble to the Borders down the road. And I was getting hungry.

So I got dinner. Then I went to Borders. Whereupon I continued the unfortunate read-snort-giggle-stifle process. Until I finished the book.

The book ending surprised me, to be honest. Unlike most chick-lit books, the heroine in this story did not have a happy ending. Despite  a declaration of love from the man she loves and despite knowing she does not want to get married (like she thought she did through the entire book) and admitting it aloud, she GOES THROUGH WITH the marriage.

You fail, Jennifer. Utter fail. This fictional character let herself be roped into a life she didn’t want; a life that every single other character in the book pushed her toward because she was getting older. Because it was the appropriate thing to do at her age. Because she needed to “be taken care of.” Because once again getting married is the ultimate expectation from other people. Bah.

I like this author. I like that she wrote a book that I thought was going to be predictable. Instead it made me think. It made me think about how so many people get roped into lives they don’t want. That’s one of my biggest fears. I’m scared of waking up ten years from now, looking around me and saying “What the eff am I doing?” It’s one of the major reasons I picked up and moved. It was unexpected.

After finishing this book I started walking back toward the Prudential Center. I just needed to think and clear my head. On my way there I passed so many groups of people. Friends. Couples. You name it. I overheard so many conversations about people’s plans for Friday night. Where they were going. What they were doing. What they would eat or drink. What they would wear. If fist-pumping what appropriate. I so badly wanted to hop into one of those conversations. I wanted to giggle with the obviously drunk group of girls and gossip about who kissed whom the other night. I wanted to make plans about who and when and where to meet. I wanted to go dancing with a group of friends. My friends.

What’s ironic about this whole thing is that earlier in the day I had turned off my cell phone because I just wanted to be by myself. I didn’t want to worry about phone calls or answering text messages. I just wanted to be.

That stupid short walk reminded me of how much I miss my friends. Argh. It brought me down just a tad from my 7-hour reading high.

After seeing all those people I decided it probably was time to take myself back home. I went down to the T, where I saw a massive group of junior high schoolers chattering to each other. Yeah. I immediately turned around, walked back up the stairs and opted to walk home.

Truly it was not the best night for walking. There was a pretty steady mist coming down, but I needed it. I needed the sharpness of the air on my face. I needed to hear the constant clicking of my heels on the pavement. I needed to hear the sirens, the honks, the sounds of cars rushing past. I don’t know why. I just know it made me feel less like I was about to float away and more as though I wasn’t alone.

Don’t ask me why. But it made me feel better.

While I was walking home a quote popped in my head: “No matter where you go, there you are.” It reminded me how I used to be unhappy back home. Not unhappy with the people I was around or anything like that. I just knew Texas was not where I was supposed to be. I thought moving would be the ultimate answer to that feeling. I thought it would mean instantly being happy, all the time.

I was terrified that when I moved I’d still feel restless and unsettled. Unsatisfied. Although I don’t, it’s manifested itself into loneliness. And that quote made me realize that truly, happiness is a choice. While I walked I listed the reasons I’d had for moving. I reminded myself they were good reasons. They made sense to me and they still do. I made a good choice. A darn good choice.

So now I have to realize that this is where I am. Boston. Yes, it’s far, far away from the familiarity of home and my friends. I need to settle down, and make more choices that allow me to stay to true to myself and make me happy. I need to change things so I’m not lonely anymore, and if that means reaching out more, opening myself up, so be it. I have become more guarded than I realized, and that’s not a healthy way to live life. It takes time. I know this. It’s a process. But I will find my way. After tonight I have more confidence in that than anything else.

Here I am. Right here.

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