Monday, December 8, 2008

Space and Time

It's hard to believe, but I've lived in New York City for a year now, and it's been one of the quickest of my life. As if time hasn't moved fast enough in my mid-to-late 20s, the New York lifestyle, with its faster pace and general busyness, has only accelerated the passing of the days, weeks, and months.

A year ago I was in a completely different place. It's weird to think that if I hadn't made an effort to change my life, I could very well be in the same place that I was in Nashville. Instead, I'm in the midst of different people and possibilities on a completely different path and future. And even though I'm not someone who constantly needs change, my strong desire for just that was the impetus behind it all.

But change often comes at the expense of time, order, and convenience, and that's been the case before beginning work at both of my jobs. In May 2002, I was one of the few to secure a position before graduating college (much to the envy of my peers in a declining job market). The downside was that I had no downtime at home before moving to Tennessee. One week week after graduating college, I was in a very different place at a pivotal point in my life.

When I accepted the job in New York in November 2007, it was more of the same. In a matter of weeks I had to put in my two-week's notice, find a place to live, say goodbye to my friends, and get ready to move—and all before the holidays. I'll always remember that period as the "whirlwind of my life"—so much happened in such little time.

When I think of "whirlwind," I'm reminded by the weekend of October 27-28 in particular. Over that Halloween weekend, I drove the five hours to Ohio Friday night, went to my friend's dress-rehearsal dinner, attended his wedding Saturday evening, drove two hours to Ohio University that same night and partied with my siblings till 7 in the morning, woke up Sunday afternoon and drove the seven hours back to Nashville, prepped for my interview, got two hours of sleep, almost missed my flight to New York that Monday morning, had a lengthy interview, got a beer with my brother, flew back to Nashville, and went in to work on Tuesday. It just goes to show what all you can squeeze into a few days when you really have to.

The day I accepted my new job was one of the best of my life. I like to think about the special call I received that Thursday evening at work because of the liberating and exhilarating emotions attached to it. One journey was coming to a close, but another was about to begin. And it was because of what I did to make it happen.

It's encouraging to know that in this life, there are some things that are in our hands.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ten Years Gone

Last Friday I attended to my 10-year high school reunion. I'm still kind of surprised I went considering my feelings against going when occasionally thinking about it over the past decade. It's not like I had a bad high school experience or that I dislike the people I went to school with. But in the age of cellphones and Facebook, anyone I've wanted to keep in touch with is just a few clicks away. Also, a reunion always struck me as a night of awkward moments; in particular, what do you say to the people you recognize but never spoke a word to over four years? Anything? Would that make it better or worse?

On the whole, the experience didn't strike me as an ideal situation for a self-professed introvert. But a few weeks before the reunion, I realized the consensus among my friends was to go; it was officially the thing to do in Centerville the Friday night after Thanksgiving. Knowing that I wouldn't be braving it alone helped. Also, about five beers beforehand.

Seeing everyone at the reunion was great, and things felt fairly comfortable. Most people looked about the same. Some looked better, some worse.

Really, though, the night was an exercise in mingling and playing catch-up with as many people who you recognized (and cared to acknowledge). It was strange seeing most people there with their spouses (including CHS mergers) and hearing about their kids. Sure, that's what most people do in their 20s, but it was weird for me to put myself in their shoes at this point of my life, because I'm nowhere near that. Even as a late bloomer, I couldn't help but wonder: Will that be me in five, 10, or 20 years? An even stranger thought.

But if I had to attend just one high school reunion, I'm glad it was this one. On the heels of college, the five-year is too soon; the 15- or 20-year too far down the road to be relevant. No, the 10-year reunion is the right time to reconvene before time begins to leave more of its marks, and life really starts to get in the way. At least for some of us.