What is real? What is fake? We all know that what we post on social media isn't necessarily an accurate portrayal of our day-to-day lives. No one's life is all sunshine and rainbows, but if those are the only parts we share, that's okay. Because in an era where the news is inundated with bombings and murderers and car accidents, the world needs a constant stream of happiness, too.
But – balance and realism are important, too. I've been reading a lot lately about what it means to own our stories and voice our struggles, and how doing so can help us move forward better, stronger, and happier. So in the essence of owning my story and voicing my struggle – one that I think a lot of us face, in various capacities at one point or another in our lives – I'd like to admit this: moving sucks. Because more so than the physical act of packing up an entire bedroom or household of belongings and hauling them in and out of various trucks and trailer beds, it's emotionally difficult. Because when you move, you leave pieces of yourself behind – you leave your favorite coffee shops and watering holes and quiet spots and hairstylists and running routes, and also your friends. You leave your friends. If you're lucky enough – if your friendships are strong enough – they can endure. With iMessage and Snapchat and Facebook and Instagram and FaceTime and GChat and also planes, trains, and automobiles, you can stay connected if you want to. But – you still need new people. You still need impromptu girls' (or guys') nights, coffee dates, and spur-of-the-moment adventure buddies.
As a child, my social circles and friendships were predetermined by where I lived, and later by who my volleyball teammates were. In young adulthood, I chose (and choose) my friends based upon common interests – mainly, "would this person keep up on the trail?" Luckily, shortly after moving to Portland (my last big move), I landed a job with an outdoor company. My coworkers immediately became (and remain) my friends. But now, I find myself in a new environment and without a workplace to turn to. And you know what? It's hard and it sucks.
Finding new people is hard. Someone recently compared making new friends as a 20something to dating — "What's your name? What do you do for work? For fun? Are you kind? Do we share the same values? Are you there for the people in you life? Do you like beer, whiskey, or wine? Blah, blah blah." It's exhausting. It's (usually, eventually) always worth it, but I think we can all agree that the act of dating – for love or friendship – sucks. I've been in Sequim unofficially now for 10 months and officially for about four. I say "officially" because I didn't forward my mail or get my Washington license until February. It wasn't until April that I started taking classes at the college here – a move that truly solidified my place in this community. Because in doing so, I began to create my own life here – intertwined but separate from J and the life we're creating together. And in all that time, with the exception of J of course, I still don't have a "person" here. And it's lonely and occasionally drives me to tears and sometimes I wonder if I'll ever find a "person." But that's okay. It's all okay. Because I will eventually find a person and because life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Acknowledging the struggle is an important piece of the puzzle, though – as Brené Brown says, "When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending." So cheers to sharing the truthful balance behind the joy I've found in calling this magical place my home, and to the ability to write our own endings.