"The problem was that that kind of thing couldn't go on forever, such perfect little circles are impossible to maintain." - Haruki Marukami, Norwegian Wood
I can't stress the importance of taking time to be alone enough. I'm aware there are around 67,850 articles circulating the world wide web listing off stupid platitudinous ways to finding alone time and balance in New York City, but this is different. I'm not talking about going to a spin class alone, getting dressed up and eating at bougie brunch spot by your lonesome, or learning how to cook. If those things interest you, by all means, have at it, but we most likely won't be friends. I'm talking about alone alone time. Like when your friends are all doing something on a Thursday night, stay in. Throw on cozy clothes, download that album you've been meaning to listen to, go through pictures that make you sad, read 5 chapters of your book, or just stare at the ceiling. Alone. Turn off the music for a second and just be. Think thoughts and let them wander.
I've had a bit of a tough time the past two weeks. I went on a trip and came back completely changed. Not one of these trips where I came back and wanted to move to Italy to open a flower shop, I've already had those see HERE, or even try to get on a rescue team off the coast of Greece to help refugees, (although I'm always v down to save the world). I came back and this really deep seeded sadness sat in me, and it hasn't gone away. I'm fully aware of how normal it is getting back from a trip and feeling depressed, and having it take a couple of days to adjust and then all is well, but this was kind of different. I went down to Nicaragua to visit two of my best friends from college. It was a on-a-whim type of trip, we found a really cheap roundtrip ticket and since they lived there, I knew I wouldn't have to pay for housing. So when I went down, I was expecting a laid back good time, but I didn't anticipate the complete and overwhelming sense joviality and destress I felt while I was down there. (I'll get to the importance of being alone in a sec, stay with me). So a couple reasons this trip was so pleasant.
First, I mean, I was in Nicaragua.
Secondly, it was ripe with fruit, monkeys, beaches for days, friendly people who come out of the womb with the full knowledge and flexible range of any and all types of Latin dances, amazing coffee, and a million things to do that were all so different than what I do in day to day.
Thirdly, I was with two of my best friends who have known me for over seven years. I hadn't seen one of them in YEARS, and we picked up right where we left off, and then some. I was with two people I didn't have to impress, who didn't care about what my next steps at work were, who didn't care where I lived, and who I could talk openly and comfortably with about religion // philosophy // gynecology, what have you.
Fourth, pretty similar to the former point, but tack on meeting new people and family members every single day. All of whom were excited to meet me, show me new things, ask me new questions, be genuinely interested in what I had to say, imbibing, laughing, and and starting up too-long conversations about literature, music, or even the damn apostles in the middle of a bar.
Fifth (almost most important) I have endometriosis, and when it kicks in it's the end of the world. Every month. I got surgery a year and a half ago, but as of last month the bitch decided to come back in chronic form, so I'm SOL. Regardless of that pity party, I planned the trip so I didn't have to endure the pain from my period, but LOL, still got my period. I was on a beach in a volcano and I panicked, I had brought NOTHING with me. No pain killers, no oxy, no tampons. Luckily some french babes had some weird organic items for me to use, but I started to get PTSD about my symptoms. When I get sick, I mean I get sick. I can't walk, I vomit profusely, I'll pass out super quickly and just cry and cry from pain. So, I panicked and my friends immediately were just like "Nica medicine! Rum and tequila shots!" So I did. I took two shots, went swimming in the lagoon, and was fine. I was fine. Got scared took another (three) shots and went swimming again. Four, five hours later, I was fine. I felt a minuscule little cute baby cramp, so we went to the pharmacy, and homies had the equivalent to my doctor Rx'd Oxycontin for .67c. SIXTY SEVEN CENTS. One, wtf does that tell you about the health crisis in 'Merica, and also, why was I not being affected by my endo? I wasn't stressed. I was in the sunshine and warm weather, but most importantly, I was so happy. I laughed harder than I had in maybe years down there, and every minute of the trip was spent in good spirits, by everyone involved. I know it sounds like some hippie shit, but I am now a firm believer that positive surroundings, healthy, fresh eating, and colourful landscapes are able to cure any and all ailments.
Lastly, (and most importantly) I was only there for a week. A perfect, 7-day week. Two days each spent in different cities, which allots just enough time to become accustomed to your surroundings and make new friends.
I know the reason I've been so overwhelmed with sadness is not because I think i will be happier if I lived there, but because the amount of time I was down there was SO perfect, it left no room for anything to go wrong. I'm fully cognizant of the fact that if I did, in fact, move down there, I would hit a bad day so hard and wish I never quit my job and left. But here is where the importance of being alone comes in.
When I got back to New York, I gave myself NO time to decompress. My boyfriend was waiting at my apartment to say hi and hear all about it, and I went right back to work the next day, to a plethora of negative energies that suffocated the office and the streets of the city. I kept trying to shake my depression, but I was literally just bringing everyone down around me. Two different times at two different dinners I caught myself completely disengaged and heard my boyfriend say "she's back here physically, but mentally she's definitely still there." Which, in retrospect, I'm sure hurt him, because, like everyone, he wants to be missed and wanted me to be excited to be back with him. But, it's not as superficial as that. I realized I hadn't given myself proper time to decompress and reflect on the week. All the memories of the people I met and was sad to leave I had to keep bottled up in the back of my mind to think about later, because I kept forcing myself out and trying to be in the present, when my heart and head didn't want me to go there yet. I know I'm a person that fixates on everything, and I definitely suffer from the-grass-is-always-greener syndrome, but the week I spent down in Central America was so overwhelming that I really needed space to process it all. I was reading my Murakami book last night and a line from it stuck out to me (which is interesting because I adore Murakami, but his sentences aren't timeless. His semiotics are great, but his overt use of passe pop-culture references are not.) Anyway it says "Those were my favorite times. [But] the problem was that that kind of thing couldn't go on forever, such perfect little circles are impossible to maintain." Which, like obviously, but it hit at the right time. I'm mature enough to know that when one good time happens, it was just a good time, I'm not going to experience the feelings I had in that one week by picking up and going back to the exact place.
Nothing revisited ever feels the same, which is why memories and moments are special to collect, to revel in, and to process. If I had taken the time to do that when I got home, I would feel better by now. But because I waited for so long to process my emotions about the whole thing, it filtered out in different ways, and everybody noticed how not with it I was.
Anyway, that's what this is. This is a post collecting my thoughts and memories from such an incredibly perfect trip, reveling in them, processing them, storing them, and moving on.