Last weekend, one of my dear friends came to visit me in San Diego. I was so so excited to see Lauren. We met while we were on the same semester abroad program in Cape Town, and although she's from Los Angeles, we were never home/free at the same time to see each other. Now, she lives in D.C., so I didn't know when I would see her next! Despite being pretty inseparable abroad, we had not seen each other in over a year.
We had a wonderful weekend - full of catching up & life chats, reminiscing on South Africa, laying out at the beach and playing in the salty water, and feasting at brunch. When she left, I actually cried. Like my college goodbyes, it was hard to say bye to someone when you didn't have a definitive date of seeing them again.
Ever since Lauren left last Saturday, I have noticed a pep in my step and a fairly constant smile on my face. Not a lot had changed in a week - I still loved my job, but was still really struggling to adjust to a new city, working hours, and starting from point A with no friends. I was happy I wasn't moping around nearly as much, but I also wondered what had changed.
I realized Lauren's visit caused this. Hanging out with her reminded me of my time abroad and who I was a year and a half ago in Africa. I was happy, adventurous, and full of love. I realized I hadn't been that full of life since I came home from South Africa. A bad breakup coupled with a year of uncertainty, big decisions, long working/school hours, and inevitable change set off almost a year of depression, anxiety, and bitterness. There were definitely happy moments and fun times and adventure, but overwhelmingly, I began to place emphasis on the negative. Moving to a new city in a job I was unfamiliar with and with no friends didn't really help the matter.
But, as I hung out with Lauren and reminisced on our time abroad, I realized nothing was perfect abroad. Far from it, actually. But, I was happy. I was excited to be challenged - I wanted adventure and uncertainty and I wanted to learn. I was overjoyed with a good meal, a pretty sunset, and a nice chat with a friend. Life was complicated before senior year, but it didn't seem to be.
I became increasingly aware of how much I had changed (in this sense - definitely for the worse). It became utterly apparent that I needed to consciously make a change in how I approached life. I wanted to be happy, go-lucky, positive, introspective, intelligent. I wanted to crave challenge and adventure. I wanted to fully be the friend Lauren remembered.
I had a wonderful time seeing a great friend, but I also had such an eye-opening wake up call. Sometimes, all it takes is waking up to consciousness and making a change. From here on out, I'm rediscovering happiness and adventure and a zest for life.