I keep thinking that I should feel bad about the way my life is right now. I recently decided to leave New York City and my pursuit of a screenwriting career, my friends, my job, my apartment, and chuck it all to move back in with my parents in Virginia for six months to pay off the debts I acquired while pursuing said career and then start graduate school in August to get my Master of Arts in Teaching for music. I left NYC a week and a half ago more in debt than I arrived nearly 4 years ago, but I also left as a completely new, improved person. I used to be timid and shy with absolutely no self-esteem. It wasn’t until I got to the city that I realized that I had depression and anxiety and that it was okay. I got treated. I went off of treatment, I had bad days, good days, and right now, I’m not on medication, but I feel good. I’m confident. I’m dating the most amazing man I’ve ever known and although we’re in a long-distance relationship and we met over the internet (seven years ago in an email group, but discovered a mutual attraction this past summer), I can see myself spending the rest of my life with him. I am literally down to my last paycheck from my NYC job that I’m stretching out over the next couple of weeks until I pick up a temp job or waitressing position. I miss my roommate and being able to yell across the hall to him about an actress or obsess over this week’s Buffy and Angel. I have my cats, who are dear to me, and are becoming dear to my parents. I won’t be saving the world over the next six months, but I’ll be decompressing and I like the idea.
When I mentioned the idea of moving back to my parents, they immediately jumped on the idea and offered me tons of financial and emotional support, something I never expected. My dad went out and bought me a new car, an inexpensive car, but a new one, nonetheless, waving off my protests and telling me that he’d make my payments until I finish grad school and then he’d give the car to me and let me make the rest of the payments. My mother, although we manage to get on each other’s nerves, and I are discovering common ground. I’m making an attempt to be helpful around the house, something that doesn’t come naturally to me, and she’s making an attempt to realize that I am not the girl who left for the big city four years ago. We’ve all made sacrifices, but I think that they’ve made the biggest one in letting their adult daughter move back in with them. They’re meeting my boyfriend for the first time next week, and I’m nervous about it because for the first time in my life, I want their approval because of who they are, not because they’re my parents. I think I’m getting to know my parents as my friends and I like that.
So when an old acquaintance made a remark about “You’re still living with your parents ?” to me today, I wasn’t as offended as I might have been. Because I realized that what they’re seeing from the outside isn’t the same as what I’m seeing and learning from the inside. Numerous people have told me that my leaving NYC doesn’t mean that I failed, it means that I had guts to go and try something that tons of people never did. It means that I’ve acquired a lifetime of experiences in four years and I’ve grown up enough to realize that those experiences won’t stop simply because I’ve moved from NYC. I looked at her, took in the attitude of superiority that she exuded, and saw a girl who never moved away from the town that we grew up in, a girl who lives ten minutes away from her childhood home with her husband, and who works in a bank at the same strip mall where we used to buy makeup, and I didn’t feel regret because I’ve come back here. I felt happy because I’ve got things that she will never know and I expect to continue learning my life by leaving for graduate school in six months, and when that’s done in two years, I’ll move somewhere new and experience more new things. I felt happy because I realize that my happiness has nothing to do with where I am, but who I am and what I choose to do with myself. It’s taken me a long time to come to this realization, but I’m glad I have.
Sorry for the length and the introspection, but a few months ago, I used the Pit as a place to have a semi breakdown, and that thread and the advice given in it actually helped me make the decision to turn my life around. I may not be a prolific Doper, but this is easily one of my favorite places on the 'net. And I wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped me out in that thread those few months ago. Those words meant more than you will ever know.