It has been almost a month since I unpacked my life into an apartment of my own for the first time in 28 years--October 1st marking a very important and bittersweet time in my life. It's a small, very old and worn one bedroom apartment that sits exactly between the bustle of Milwaukee Ave and the quiet calm of Wicker Park Ave. "Location, location, location," I am constantly reminding myself as I try to ignore the loud roar of the L train passing by every 5-7 minutes on the dot and the loud bangs the radiator stirs up, startling me out of sleep in the middle of the night--around 3 am, mostly. I am constantly making a list in my mind of all the good that has and will come of the heartbreaking situation preceding this move, as I continually stand over the bathroom and kitchen sinks scrubbing away at the rust that has accumulated over the years- a dramatic change from the granite counter tops that I had just gotten used to showing off and so happily wiping down weeks prior.
A life full of love I had so excitedly pictured in my mind, slowly slipping through my fingers like sand.
It was just this past Saturday as I was finishing up my chilly, morning run- admittedly in attempt to run off the fog and ache of the night before- that I was literally and figuratively stopped in my tracks by a herd of young families- costumes and all- making their way to the park lining the south end of my apartment building. "Boo-palooza," banners and signs hanging from the trees and fences like a college orientation. Face painting stations, food trucks, pumpkin patches, mini corn mazes, and a DJ playing Monster Mash- Wicker Park was transformed that day into a Halloween fantasy land that made me question if I could participate in out of jealousy.
I'm 28 going on 8.
I had a rare moment of clarity as I slowly made my way around the outskirts of this park, watching kids pull at their parents arms, wide eyed and seemingly walking on air in excitement as they made their way past the Frankenstein welcoming them at the entrance. A moment of clarity that maybe this is what October is all about-- trusting in the unknowns, finding gold in the little things and trading my fear of loneliness and uncertainty for freedom to thrive within it. My happiness no longer hinging on anyone else but myself- a long overdue realization that this life is solely mine. My charming, 1000 year old apartment redefining and replacing what I used to consider home... and I ab-so-lutely love it. Everything about it is everything I didn't know I needed.
The L train no longer waking me, but lulling me to sleep. The bang of the iron fence outside reminding me that someone else too, is returning home. The open window in my bedroom that I am unable to close (Dad help), wakes me with a cool breeze every morning. The bright red leaves on the trees outside changing with the season and falling everyday, allowing my bedroom and living room to glow with more natural light than I ever could have hoped for.
October is the precedent of change, and I am reminded day in and day out that I will be okay, we all will be okay, even before everything falls into place.
I am reminded daily that my story is far from finished and I am allowed to find peace amongst the anxiety and uncertainty... even before I know what's coming next. Life has a funny, albeit sometimes nasty, way of teaching you what you need, and I have no idea what is around the corner for me, but what I do know is that I am full of hope and quite possibly the happiest I've ever been.
Here's to what's next.