Ch-ch-ch-changes

by shewastheyoungamerican

“I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild”

Obligatory year-in-review. My life in changes.

I was scared of 2011.

I put my eggs in one basket. And the basket actually happened.

I remember crying the night I found out I won the scholarship. I choked out, “You wait forever for your life to happen and my life is actually happening to me.” The fear grew.

I also cried the night I got a scholarship to study at the Second City this summer. There was no fear in that.

I fell in love. I was scared to say it, and when I finally did the fear dissolved.

When it ended, a new fear grew.

What I didn’t fear was having people to lean on. In the good and the bad.

There was music, so much music. The National, Arcade Fire. The Shins. MGMT (they sucked). Muse. The Black Keys. Girl Talk (And getting backstage during the set. Sometimes you can convince a security guard that the need to charge a blackberry is a life-and-death situation. Then you wander onto massive tour buses, scaring bands and their girlfriends. Oops). The Roots.  OK GO. Sia. The Decemberists. John Fogerty.Beirut. Major Lazer. Cut Copy.

Callum, my wonderful friends’ Jason and Olivia’s first son took his first steps and said his first words. He’s incredible.

I had a job and career to be proud of. I wrote the majority of the Philadelphia Official Visitors Guide. I am your City of Brotherly Love conniseur. I miss that job.

I secured some good friendships in a trip to Atlantic City. Even after a car broke down while attempting to get a Messl at Essl’s. Proof that messes can make for good times.

I donned green bunny ears and meandered the streets of Philadelphia. It was Ronnie’s first Erin Express. Like your first love, it’s wild, you make some bad choices, lots of good memories, some fuzzy ones, you make friends, you yell, you laugh. You might pee your pants.

Allison (my partner and crime) and I fell in love with a gay wine bartender at Outside Lands. His name was Elliot and he defined the “good pour.” I love San Francisco. What a town.

Tinuke is chasing her dreams and making it happen in California. And she doesn’t have to walk all over people to do so. She is proof that kindness gets you so far in life. She reminds me why taking the leap was the right decision.

My parents are selling our house. This will probably be the last time I will sleep in it.

I saw the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet boys. Twice.

The Philly Fringe was a wild, wonderful ride.

I had a lot of good meals. Like, a lot.

I sang a lot of karaoke, probably too much. Or not enough.

I rode the Cyclone for the first time with my sister. Our relationship will never be the same.

Wonderful people in my life got married, some even had kids.

I was/am a vagabond. Living in bags and suitcases, for many weeks.

Lots of wonderful potlucks to gather my favorite people with homecooked food. Sometimes for big occasions, sometimes just for the sake of being together.

Laughter became my life. I traveled to Chicago with Mayor Karen for the Chicago Improv Festival. We always had great crowds in Philly. The 30 minutes backstage before a show has remained my favorite moments with the team, and the celebrations after.  I have a new group in London. I’m adjusting to what makes English people laugh. Thankfully some things are universal. Like getting hit by a bus. That’s always funny.

Meredith is getting married tomorrow and I’m honored to be her bridesmaid. She and her fiance are a beautiful reminder as to why it is people get married. There is great love in the world. It changes you for the better. It gives you something you fear you may have lost forever or something you never dreamed of having. It means having a partner in crime. Someone to bring you levity, while also keeping you grounded.

I moved to London. LONDON. I moved across the ocean. I looked at a map the other day and saw how far it really is. I have to be proud. What my European friends don’t know is that an American abroad is an anomile. We are a product of Travels With Charley. Everything we want and need is in our own backyard. People rarely leave. And I left because there has always been something inside of me that says, “Go. Take on the world.” I’m a shark in that way, always moving forward.  I struggle because I also want to stay and take in the here and now. Sometimes I just want to float for a bit. But we only get one of these. An opporunity came and I couldn’t say no. In doing so, I’ve challenged myself intellectually, met wonderful people, introduced my high-class New Zealand roommate to TGI Friday’s, made friends with lifelong Londoners who have showed me parts of the city I would have never known otherwise, got my feet wet in Ireland, felt lost, then enjoyed getting lost. I’m slowly but surely understanding the language.

You hear that saying that “you can never go home again.” I don’t believe it. Being back, it’s comforting to know the things I know and love are still here, and happy to love me back. You can go all around the globe and leave your heart in a million places. In houses. In bars. On dance floors. With new people. With old friends. On pillows. In the grass, under a tree. Along a river. Under a skylight. In kitchens. At Happy Hour.  Over coffee. On a park bench. In the sun. In the rain. In snowpocalypse. A birthday parties. At your front door. On your best friend’s couch. On the subway. In the crowd. With toes in the sand.

And to all of you who make my world, know that I’m happy for you. I’m happy for the little things that make your day better – like a funny Youtube video at work or an unexpected phone call. I’m happy for the big things – the I do’s, the new apartments, the new places. I know how lucky I am to have friends and family who told me, “Go!” and meant it when they said, “congratulations.” 2011 was a year of big changes. I will define it as a year of incredible people who are more talented, wonderful, funny, sweet, smart and kind than they probably give themselves credit for.  We all wish there were things we could change about the year, in retrospect. Being kinder, being smarter, being more careful, being more carefree. But more often than not, changes will happen without our ability to control it. It helps to have people to share it with, to take away some of the fear. Leap.

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