…I must confess that I’m feeling very grateful that it’s finally cool enough to wear long sleeves. It has been one unbearably hot summer so the 62 degree breeze that hit my face when I walked outside this morning was a relief. The plan was to head into the office but after some storm damage last night, my boss told me to work from home. Naturally, I headed right to a coffee shop with both my work laptop and play laptop. In between emails, meetings, and sips of my first pumpkin coffee of the season, I am listening to my girls Emma and Julie discuss Kravis on “Comments by Celebs.”
For whatever reason, coffee shops often inspire me to write and today I feel like writing about my recent euphoria. First, let me point out that in my first “As I sit in this coffee shop…” post, the first snowflakes of the season were falling and today, the weather is finally giving us the first signs of fall. Maybe season changes make me more reflective than I ever realized. Nevertheless, back to my euphoria. Since being back in my homeland, I have felt very free and jovial. Just a few years ago I was writing about how I felt like I was missing out and now my manifestation has come true. I feel like this is how I expected my life to be at 26 and Connecticut just wasn’t cutting it. I have always felt this pull back to Jersey and I could not be happier with my decision to come back.
A lot of credit for my euphoria goes to my old friends for embracing me as if I never left. More credit goes to my old friends’ friends who have welcomed me in and have treated me as if I’ve lived here all along. Even more credit goes to lifelong family friends who have allowed me to stay in their homes and have treated me like family. If I hadn’t been received with such open arms, I don’t know if I would be in the same mindset. The gratitude I feel for everyone allowing me to jump back into their lives is something I, myself, cannot even put into words. I feel very lucky. I also have no idea how people up and move to a random place where they know no one. I find comfort in already knowing my way around this area and being surrounded by familiar faces. Kudos to the people who start fresh somewhere foreign to them – I could never.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve done my best to say yes to everything. “Want to come with me to try this new restaurant?” Duh. “Want to come down the shore to celebrate a birthday for someone you just met three weeks ago?” Sure thing. “Want to come to a pool party with strangers?” Absolutely. “Want to go to a Phillies game?” No doubt. “Want to go away for the weekend with 16 other people?” Hell yes. My open-mindedness and flexibility have allowed me to make the most of the last 11 weeks and I would not want it any other way.
I have also been ignoring the idea of permanence. Right now the idea of marriage sounds terrifying as does buying a house. My head is in more of a “go with the flow” type of mindset which seems to also play a part in my euphoria: the idea that nothing really needs to be definite right now. Plans can change, people can change, life can shift. I enjoy the thought of not committing to anything and seeing where the wave takes me. I tend to be a person who prefers to be in control but adjusting my mindset has allowed me to relax, take a step back when things are not in my control, and remind myself: “Just be grateful you are here, you are happy, and you are healthy.”
Aside from landing a job in the city, losing my dad played a big part in my decision to move back. His death made me realize I don’t want to have to jump on a plane to see any of my family at any given moment. Life is too short to not make time for the people who mean the most and I would do anything for more time with my dad. I think he would love the idea of me being back in Jersey. So many things remind me of him: Eagle Mart, the hockey rinks, radio 104.5, and every time I have to take a jug handle to turn left because WHAT. I also think of him every time I need to get gas. Obviously, I grew up in Jersey where people pump your gas. But my dad, growing up in Virginia, ALWAYS got out of the truck to try to pump his own gas (sometimes he was so rude that people actually let him). Never having lived in Jersey with my driver’s license, I have an automatic instinct to get out and pump my own gas just like my dad always did. However, I resist the urge and stay happily seated inside my car. And I certainly don’t harass the attendant until they let me do it myself!
As I sit in this coffee shop, I hope the euphoria doesn’t go away. I am aware that I am probably in some honeymoon phase as it pertains to good change but I am going to do my best to keep saying “yes” to everything and being content with not being in control. I definitely feel lighter since I have been here so I hope that at least stays constant. Right now I have this impulse to write something about going for it and stepping out of your comfort zone. But that’s not at all what I just did; I think I just found mine.
For the zero of you who care, I decided today that “As I sit in this coffee shop…” will become a series called Coffee Shop Confessions. I love the atmosphere of a coffee shop and how all of these random people collectively decided to be at that coffee shop at that moment. Coffee brings people together through “good mornings,” door holding, and open conversation about the weather or the game. It is a camaraderie that cannot be found at a department store or the supermarket. There is something about the barista knowing the orders of all the regulars before they even make it up to the counter. Okay fine I guess you could say the same about a bar but I personally don’t ever feel creatively inspired at the bar. Even so, I plan to acknowledge whatever feelings that come over me each time I’m drinking joe surrounded by other random people drinking joe.