Friday, June 8, 2007

Where were you?

One year ago, I was unhappy with my life. I was 19 years old and battling a persistent depression. I was living in a frat house in Boston with few friends around. I was working between forty and fifty hours every week. One job I liked; one job I didn't like. I was also in a long-distance relationship that was choking me. My band had dispersed, and I was left with a notebook full of lyrics but no music. At the time, I knew of two good things: I was going to France in just over a month, and biking, which kept me moderately sane. I am revealing this super personal information because of this: Over the next roughly two weeks, my life completely changed. It started when one of my bosses - the one I didn't like - decided to "let me go." I worked at a guitar shop across the street from Berklee College of Music, and business was slow over the summer. I was just part time; I was dispensable. So that was that. One week later, as I was biking along Boston Harbor, I decided, on a whim, to find out if the boats that cruised the harbor needed any help. I was hired on the spot as a bartender. About a week after that, I was sitting along the Charles River (I like bodies of water), trying to figure out why I was so unhappy and what I could do about it. I decided I needed to break up with my boyfriend. It occurred to me that I needed to make my happiness a priority, and at the time, I wasn't. So I ended it over the phone and burst into tears. And then I was free. I had a new job. I had a new realization that I could take care of myself; I could be totally self-sufficient. And I had a new confidence that things would work out. Basically, I finally ballsed up and found my strength. The rest of the summer was pretty great. I loved working on the boats, I met crazy new people, France was probably the best thing I've ever done, and I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Flash-forward: six months ago. I was standing in a hospital room bathroom, bawling my eyes out, trying not to let the large, raucous black woman in the next bed hear me. I had just been told I had leukemia; I wouldn't be able to finish my semester; I needed to go home as soon as possible. So much for feeling good about myself.

Flash-forward: present day. I have had an absolutely crappy day. No sugar or honey, no, "they don't need to know this." It has been a bad, bad day. But here's the thing. Tomorrow will be a better day. Yesterday was a good day. Today just happened to not be. Life is actually okay. I have changed immensely over the past six months. I'd say I've matured, but maybe my perspective has just changed, yet again. I have realized just how damn strong humans can be. The past six months have been tough. The next three will probably, almost, be worse. But I'll get through it and come out on top, and I love who I am for being able to do so.

Flash-forward: six months from today. Hopefully, in six months I will be drunk as a skunk and surrounded by friends. Realistically, I'll probably be studying for finals. But I definitely won't be sitting alone in a hospital room.

The fact that a person's life can change so drastically, in so relatively short a period, amazes me. If you are unhappy with your life or your current circumstances, change them. Change your attitude. And then call me in six months, and we can buy each other drinks.


Andrew said...

This is the most pleasantly optimistic writing I have read in an ever. Pie.

Megan said...

...I was at home, being miserable and working for my parents, spending most nights by myself on the phone with my long-distance boyfriend because my ex-boyfriend had infiltrated my core group of friends that had stayed at home and I couldn't look him in the eye.

And that woman next to you was large. I was a little bit frightened of her when we came to visit you.

Also: no sugar is crap. When you get back here we will gorge ourselves on overpriced organic flavored honey sticks that I buy from farmers markets. And they will be delicious and cause you to relapse into your sugar addiction.

Jon Seitz said...

Very true words, Caroline. I'll drop my 2 (euro) cents and say that my own long-distance relationship was fucking terrible. Sometimes, you've just got to realize that you feel awful, and you've got to change your life. Or, in the words of Shaun of the Dead, "Sort your fucking life out, mate!"

Thanks for the reminder. I'll definitely get drunk as a skunk with you in six months, and we'll scrape together enough friends to keep you surrounded.