Starting a new adventure is a double-edged sword that movies, per usual, failed to prepare me for. (We're not going to discuss how I probably shouldn't look to movies for guidance regarding my life, MMMMMKAY?). In the movies, a girl (likely young, attractive, and still gorgeous in only a pair of perfectly faded jeans and a perfectly faded tank top with only a TOUCH of mascara) moves all of her worldly possessions in a broken-down car or a cab to The Big City where she pursues her Dreams and finds Love, Heartache, and Herself on the way. In movie time, it makes perfect sense that a cute and charismatic young gentleman happens to saunter by as Girl unloads her suitcases from said broken-down car/cab. Young Gentleman would offer a witty statement while effortlessly moving her boxes up 3 flights of stairs with his bulging biceps, all while casually inserting his name, the name of his band, and the upcoming gig she should *totally* stop by later. Girl will, while courting Young Gentleman, find her way in the Big City while making friends and having insane adventures. And why not, it's all so easy to do, right?
Wrong. What movies don't show are the awkward in-between moments
when the sensation of moving somewhere new and exciting fades off, and
the daily grind without a thriving social life fades in. You know, when the sparkly romantic-comedy cameras turn off, and the boring beige documentary cameras turn on. Don't get me
wrong: I have met the most unbelievably kind and compassionate people in my
nursing program. These are the people that I will spend the next 14 months
with, growing and learning and studying with and freaking out with and
drinking and celebrating with, all while being molded into healthcare
professionals. And while one day we'll all likely be one big happy dysfunctional family, right now we're all still in the getting-to-know you
stages. And even though the getting-to-know-you stage is generally incredibly abbreviated in the healthcare world (if you're going to be saving lives and cleaning up bodily fluids with your coworkers every 10 minutes, there's absolutely no way you're going to be formal), you still need to give it time. No one likes the over-eager
mouth breather, right guys? RIGHT?!
This new stage of adventure is just that: its own adventure. And while it
is incredibly exciting to be exploring a new town with new people, new restaurants, and a new energy, there's also a lot of downtime that
movies conveniently leave out. And by downtime I mean the time I spend
in my apartment debating just how necessary a shower is, and figuring
out the mathematical equations related to couch-inhabiting (I have
determined that if I open a window and rotate on my couch 37 degrees
every 4 hours, I'm 89% sure I can avoid bed sores). During this downtime I have become intimately acquainted with rock bottom (or perhaps the underground
garage BENEATH rock bottom), since I'm actively lying to the sushi
restaurant I order from regarding how many people will be eating this
meal of 26 salmon skin rolls. Yes, that many. Did I stutter? I'm just asking
for 3 pairs of chopsticks and a lot of soy sauce because me and ALL MY FRIENDS
are really going to like this. No matter that I'm the one always picking up the order. WHATEVER.
I have been here for a month, and I have learned several things.
First of all, if you can live in an apartment complex that offers a
laundry facility on-site, you choose that complex. I don't care if your
actual apartment is a rat-infested cardboard box: if you can do laundry 2
floors down, as opposed to 2 blocks away, you take that apartment. AND YOU LOVE IT. Second, if someone promises you that the "joy" of a walk-up apartment is the automatic
workout, you slap them in the face. Hard. Third, and most importantly,
moving somewhere new does not make you a new person. I was hoping, once I
moved, to kind of minimize the awkwardness that has followed me for the
first 20-odd years of my life. You know, go from the accident-prone girl to the one who walks away from an explosion, all courageous amazing smooth heroine style. However, I've found that trying repress the awkwardness has made me, in fact, more set in my mishap-full ways. (I've spent the past 4 weeks getting lost, tripping all over myself, and setting my apartment on fire via chicken breast. Yeah, I'm TOTALLY new and improved).
But while you generally are not a new person once you move somewhere new, you do
become a better person, with time. Because when you move somewhere new
and are thrown into the Unknown, you depend on you to be strong and brave. You take this time to figure out what you like. What makes you
happy. What you don't like. What's important to you, and what you cannot bring yourself to care about. And finally, you realize that YOU yourself are
enough. That no matter what happens in life, you have you to depend on. This is something you figure out if you're alone in your apartment, or settled in with your friends or family. Really, moving geographically is not the necessary step for figuring out how awesome you are. Pushing yourself to be the New Girl, or the New Guy, in a situation you're not necessarily comfortable with, is. :)