I took a break from sleeping, scouring for jobs on Indeed, and making toilet paper roll wall art (don’t you dare laugh!) to meet up with my good friend Katerina a few days ago. I shared an office with Kat at my last job and we hit it off, and have kept in touch. She is younger than I am, but wise beyond her years. And funny as all heck. Over pumpkin-flavored iced coffees we updated each other on the occurrences of the past year.
“Wow, it’s like nothing has changed,” she sighed.
Way to bum a sister out, I thought. Her statement was true, however. She is still working hard towards her MBA and I am still looking for a job while I hear back from the Peace Corps. She is still thousands of miles away from her family while I am still living with mine. We are still unlucky in regards to love. I thought about our circumstances, and decided:
“It’s not that nothing has changed; it’s just that we aren’t where we want to be yet.”
Because although things appear to be the same, we have both accomplished quite a bit since we saw each other last. We have degrees and we have plans for the future. We have lived and failed and won and learned. But the space we find ourselves in now, the process to achieve what we want is not coming as fast and easily as we had anticipated. It has literally been one step at a time. Sometimes two steps back.
The thing I admire about Kat, my dear Che, is that she remains optimistic and determined. “I should be doing more!” she exclaims, despite going to school full-time and having two jobs. “I know what I want!” she says with a laugh. She even has hope left for me. She said a few things which I have heard from others before, and that have been mulling over but which I have been trying to ignore.
“You should get out of here, go to a big city!” How’d she know that I’ve been wanting to leave this town? Except for my family and best friends, I can’t say there’s anything which tethers me to this square-mile city. Move to Miami and bartend and dance and laugh my way through life?
“How about grad school?” The Peace Corps application has been a long one, and there’s yet a lot more waiting to be done. I haven’t wanted to admit this, but this waiting has created doubt in my mind. Is this really what I want to do? How about actually doing something about becoming a writer and taking a big step forward by going for my MFA?
“You need to find inspiration so you can write your book. Travel! Fall in love!” Ahhh, that book. That book which haunts me night and day, but whose words I have been too life-weary to go about writing, why not pour my heart out on paper already?
These are all things I know I should do, in no particular order, but which I have thus far been too scared to jump into. “Things don’t just come to us,” Kat reminded me. I looked in on us through the glass window, sitting at a Starbucks, a pair of dreamers from completely different backgrounds and from opposite sides of the world but who both have potential and aspirations and who work hard (believe it or not, I work hard when I have to!) and thought, what am I waiting for?! Who what and where?!
So with the notion that someone out there has faith in me, and that no one is going to live this life for me but me, I have decided to begin the first draft to my novel. It won’t be easy, and it will be a series of failures and gains, one step forward and another back, but I am willing to do it. I have to.
One night I was out with my babies Stephanie, Courtney, and BobbieAnn, and we rode around Rhode Island from gas stations to Redboxes screaming in fits of laughter which left a trail of waves behind us. Earlier we had been talking about growing old, and Steph told us about her great-grandmother, who sometimes says that if you press your hand against her chest you can’t feel her heart, that’s how old she is. At the time BobbieAnn still had her old car, whose juices were slowly escaping it. We were at a red light, and the car’s engine started to go.
“You feel that?” B.A. asked.
“Barely. It’s like Steph’s grandmother, a ninety-two-year-old heart,” someone said.
We were quiet for a bit, and then I decided: “That’s what I’m going to name my first novel. Ninety-Two-Year-Old Heart.”