This Thanksgiving I am thankful for one thing that happens to be inanimate object: clarity. Realizing the right answer is something difficult to do, but freeing once you accept it. For me, even diagnosing the problem was even an issue as I have the tendency to lie to myself and put on shows for people (I’m addressing my vices in my old age). Internally and quietly, I struggled on what my next move would be since the October layoff- would I stay in San Diego or go back east? Originally, the answer was easy. I will finally do a job I find invigorating and that suits the contours of my personality and strengths. All along I did not want to give up on my dream city because after all, it had only been one year if you read my last post, Loyal Reader.
But as I sat in my unemployment sweat and anxiety-ridden living room on November 10th, I felt like the only remedy for my mental sickness was to go home for a bit: to coo with Baby Bennett, to celebrate Jimbo’s real 60th birthday (not his 59 and a half) and attend the Terp Notre Dame game with my college best friends after striking poses for a photo shoot outside our soon to be leveled former dorm room, Wicomico.
Wicomico is a stunning brick plantation-house-esque mini-dorm, where Rihanna would say we fell in love in a homeless place. Due to University of Maryland’s need for more money, more students, they are tearing it down with 2 other dorms to build a mega high-rise dorm this year (I understand, I’m not hating, but just saddened). Tis a serious bummer for when I am a MILF one day, trolling around CP’s campus with my kids, I won’t be able to show my little munchkins where I made the best and worst and best worst decisions of my life. Sigh. (Side note: If anyone knows anyone at the Diamondback, we would like love a photo of ours to accompany the demolition article).
Anyway, blessed with best friends who were willing to cut me checks for a last-minute flight urged me to stop drowning in my living on California unemployment pity since my severance ended and by Katie sending her last one-way flight for a cheap handful of Alexander Hamiltons (translation: 10 dollar bills friends), and a friend’s Stewardess mother mailing me Southwest Buddy Pass vouchers to get back west cheaply on standby, I was able to take solace in the comfort of home R&R indefinitely with a one-way flight. My parentals weren’t down to drop over a grand on Thanksgiving and Christmas flights especially when I was in between interviews and when my trips would not be long, so I was blessed with the love of friendship, friends who flew me back when I needed it the most.
It’s tough to say when you need help because no one wants to be someone’s charity. But when you are friends, it’s not necessarily charity. It’s love, love disguised in a Tacky Tourist costume when they hate Halloween, but came to visit because I was a Debby Downer.
It’s love when it’s in monetary form to ignite my flight home. This is the lovely love that I love and also love to talk about. I thought it would be a jaunt home to fill my homesickness void and celebrate the holidays while I worked out some inside kinks, but as time pressed on, I slowly was uncovering the truth.
My fantastic Alum contact (I met through my SD Terp Alum involvement) even dropped a Benjamin for my ticket to the Notre Dame as a future investment in me. I was able to see the Terp shelmets in person from the 9th row 50 yard line (UMD has new eccentric Oregon inspired Under Armour unis), Fed Ex Field for the first time, and I saw how ceremonial Notre Dame traditions are live. It was a great day to rage even for a Green Irish spanking because it was perfect tailgating weather in Terp Nation. After every photo we took, I exclaimed that “That felt right.” In the peak bliss of autumn shot gunning, Pinnacle and crab dip, I even rejoiced at the top of my allergy stricken lungs: “EVERYTHING FEELS SO RIGHT RIGHT NOW,” to Rachel, who loved it more than anyone and I felt the tinge of soon-to-be-decision-making clarity.
I first identified the truth when I sat the the Terp Alumni office for a networking meeting and I told my business contact and friend I was looking on both coasts now just to maximize job chances. He gave me a few big whig San Diego contacts and I realized over the next few days I did not want to contact them. Red flag? YUP. I also got a text from Amanda, my San Diego, but Baltimore born Terp girlfriend who said in a textual message, “My friend who works at a start up needs a Marketing Coordinator. Pays high 30s, but chance to advance. Interested?” I wrote back with excitement, but knew I was lying with my fingertips touching my hellion Android. Finally, I went to a family party that night and realized that talking it out to extending family kind of made me hear my uncertainty firsthand out loud as oppose my heart’s silent shrieks.
Up until that point, I was telling people I wanted to say in California because I have the most perfect house and life and that I have not seen enough of California yet. But I think that was me just afraid to throw in the towel so early and vanity talking. Despite being a wild child, I have a practical side of me with twists of safe spontaneity. For instance, before I visit a new city, I make arrangements of where to stay. I moved to San Diego with a job, not the I’ll figure it out when I get there thing. If I am to ever bungee jump, I’ll research the safest bridges and miscellaneous facts on the chance of death. Finally, I knew it would be easier to get a secure job in Baltimore because San Diego’s economy is one of the worst and DMV (DC-MD-VA) area is thriving in comparison as well.
Later that weekend, during sips of Bloody Mary’s, Ravens commercial breaks, 7 hours of catch-up conversations with Antol, Al, Kris and Emily at a beautiful new Oasis in Federal Hill called The Hill, I finally constructed my San Diego vs. Baltimore Pro Con list, a task I had been postponing because inside, I already knew who won and was afraid to see the truth. We passed the list around all day around for more insight, making additions and asking friends of friends and the sagacious bartender who was from my town and actually lived in Hawaii for a few years before venturing home. I turned the qualitative information into quantitative data (pros minus cons) and Baltimore, without frivolous reasons, was up +4 and San Diego parked at -3 (with less vital reasons, Baltimore was +5 and San Diego was 0-break even).
I didn’t lose anything and gained a great year of wonderful friends, new places and fun. I raged in Vegas 6 times this year, did the real OC a few times, camped at the largest nation’s largest country concert (Stagecoach), played in LA, splashed/eat/drank/biked/shopped all around San Diego, and relaxed in Palm Springs. I cruised home from Federal Hill with my own thoughts as my invisible copilot that night, not realizing that I listened to the radio on SCAN from the minute I whipped my belt on till the minute I perched over driveway. I fell into the “not now, I’m in the frickin zone chief,” I guess, that even a new song or commercial every 7 seconds couldn’t shake my concentration til my hour later arrival.
After more reflection and meditation, I realized that my San Diego year was like a study broad experience. I, as a broad, was studying myself, in our country, but it might as well been Prague as it was the same distance and I was going to school for on my studious MBA. Pacific Beach was like going to summer camp for a year or living a life of The Endless Summer every day and especially on the weekends. Unlike the documentary, I was in search for the perfect “self” (and a little bit of the “perfect wave”). I needed a thrill wrapped up in a challenge with a side of guacamole and strangers to befriend, which is jubilantly what I got.
I never had an Ocean City, Md. summer experience, but instead I had a year of paradise to fill a void that needed to be addressed and I escaped my familiar to get my craving for San Diego taken care of. I did San Diego; I lived in my dream city. However, all along though, I was seeking something greater than the city: a sense of home- all of my best friends there are east coasters, I became heavily involved with SD Terp Alumni Chapter and Ravens fans and I lived for when my Maryland friends came to visit. Yellow flag?
In looking in at my resume, it appears like I have serious commitment issues in my jobs, which is not the case, but rather just the hand I was dealt with my post graduation experience. Between the Washington Post merger, the event planning company position and my SD university losing enrollment numbers, I know that my next position needs to be something of longevity and I need to start getting established in my career. So, the two primary things from my pro con list, the game changers for me were: #1-I need to be in my job for the next 2 to 5 years…Do I want to be in California for that long? No. and #2- And I haven’t seen all of California yet.
The second issue can be solved in a road trip up the coast before I go to see what I need to see (Santa Barbara, Malibu, Big Sur, Carmel, San Fran, Napa, Sonoma, Santa Cruz). And I was living 30 minutes from Mexico to see things I could see on own my exodus, so staying seemed impractical. And I will even get to see more as I will road trip across country once again taking the Southern route this time to see New Orleans, Nashville, Austin, etc. Plus, I will go back to California to visit Katie in SF again (next year for sure with our bffs), to board in
Tahoe (I will visit you Shannon!), and to go to Coachella soon in my raging 20s with my SD girlfriends to name a few visits. But living in California with my next job that most likely will not have much location flexibility, I realized all my vacation time would automatically would go to visiting home, which is not giving me the spontaneity of more travel I want right now. When I am home, I can use vacation time elsewhere. And there are still things I want to do on the east coast: Boston, Miami (ULTRA), and Electric Zoo in Manhattan to name a few.
The key thing here is living in Baltimore. If you’ve read my previous posts you know how much I have come to love that city since graduation and that I never got my Baltimore fix other than numerous visiting nights. I have drank, danced, lived, sweated and worked DC to the bone. Baltimore is less pretentious, more preppy, more down-to-earth, cooler, cheaper, less traffic-ed, and a cozier city than political DC to me.
If you ever hear me talk, you know I love love (already mentioned) and trends. I love talking about trends whether accurate or fictitious. Well once again, I’m ahead of the trends of breakups: Demi and Ashton (don’t date young), Ali and Roberto (don’t date on Reality shows-serious bummer though), and Saint Diego and myself (don’t stay longer than necessary). To my San Diego friends, I am sorry I am cutting short my staying classy life. I will be back to visit, but in the mean time, be grateful I am good at keeping up with people and thank you SD ragers, this Thanksgiving, for creating the best study broad experience a girl could of asked for. Love you long time. Duh.
So this thanksgiving, I am thankful for clarity. Clarity I got at that hazy crazy tailgate with my college girlfriends, clarity I self-noticed when I listed my fears of cutting my California dream too early to my aunt who said so much by saying so little as I figured it out on my own, and clarity I got when I realized I lied in a text about a California job opportunity. Friends and family were the sounding board and I am so grateful to have them. I am thankful that God opened California to me last year and provided the adventure medium I needed. To get historical, I am thankful Lord Baltimore founded MerryLand. To get personal, I’m thankful I am wise enough to address a problem and have the intuition to listen to my gut, despite caring what other people think as that has trapped me before. I guess I am thankful for this quarter life crisis (I’m 25 on February 19th and I still happily accept gift cards to Forever 21 by the way) of being officially unencumbered by absolutely no guy, no job (soon though), and nothing other than logic, a heart, and an adventure to get have me downshift me into a thankful and right-for-me decision.
“Maybe mistakes are what make our fate… without them what would shape our lives? Maybe if we had never veered off course we wouldn’t fall in love, have babies, or be who we are. After all, things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. But it’s comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart… and if you’re very lucky, a plane ride away.”- Carrie Bradshaw played by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City