It’s been a week since I’ve worn makeup.
I just lugged my suitcase up three flights of stairs in the sudden summer heat. High heels are strewn across my room and work clothes haphazardly rest in a laundry basket, both unused and untouched for over seven days. It seems while I was on vacation the seasons changed rapidly, and the fan is already blasting as I sit in my beach clothes typing this post.
There is also sand in my luggage, scattering on the floor and making its presence known as I unpack. The more clothing I pull out, the more of St. Augustine flies from my bags and finds itself in New York. But the more clothing I pull out, the more I want to place it right back where it was, sand included, and head once again to the beach.
The email thread to organize this trip began in September of last year and made me smile every time a new response popped up in my inbox. “Because reunions are fun” was the subject line, circulating to a group of people that was narrowed down through the passing months. We are busy, we have other endeavors, and we grow apart. But somehow, 160 some emails later, 14 of us made it to St. Augustine for a Memorial Day vacation because, you know, “reunions are fun.”
We came from all over, most driving through the night, making the 10 to 12 hour journey with a hint of giddiness. Raleigh, South of the Border, Savannah, Florida state lines; they all whizzed by in a blur as our headlights pierced increasingly dark skies. By 3am, my car mates and I were tucked into bed but too excited to sleep. College friends, together again – it was as though the last two years hadn’t occurred and I’d picked up right where I’d left off.
Of course, the last two years have taken place and affected us all. But there is a certain bittersweet comfort to being surrounded by what you once knew, yet no longer possess. Your perspective has broadened or morphed, and still what you’ve owned in a previous time is appealing – which affirms what you’ve had all along is real, and true, and genuine.
My community of friends from college was more far reaching than those just on this trip. Still, the last few days were a reminder of where I’m from, how we’ve evolved, and what I acutely miss. “Do you love New York?” “Was the first year hard?” “Are you ever lonely?” “Do you still love Virginia?” Yes… yes, a thousand times yes. You must know the answer to each of those questions is a resounding “yes.” The truth is this: New York can be a tough pill to swallow, but I expect nothing less from myself. You know as well as I do that I wouldn’t be happy back at home yet, though Virginia will always be just that.
But every laugh was a temptation; every new story was a lure. I do deeply long for my college community, and wish I could transplant each one of them amongst the boroughs of New York.
Because, you see, I’ll never have to wear makeup with them. They don’t care if I’m unemployed, or have a bad hair day, or occasionally act like an idiot. They’ve seen me at my worst and maybe my best, yet their loyalty rarely wavers. I have friends like this in New York too, but to glimpse all of these people from my past in one place, at one time… it was nothing short of sheer delight. I woke up early and was often the last to sleep, manic with the need to inhale every conversation and observation.
So yes, this weekend was restful because of the sunny beach, poolside drinks, and delicious homemade dinners. But it was also relaxing because I wasn’t anything except what I’ve always been, with no expectation or false pretense.
Still as I drove back into the city today, my heart skipped a beat (as it always does) when New York first came into view. My town, my lovely little town, was already drowning in summertime heat, buzzing, ready for me and every other nonsensical hopeful. People were out milling around, talking, walking, being, and I longed to once again be with them.
I needed this vacation to remember much – including why I came to New York in the first place. My community from home prepared me for something thrillingly challenging, and while they go off and tackle their own aspirations, as will I.
In fact, starting tomorrow I shall be working at the Huffington Post, writing for their “Tech” column about technology and social media. I was incredibly lucky to receive this offer the day I left for Florida, and am extremely excited for such an opportunity.
So the seasons change once again, leading us blindly into whatever is next with only the faith from our past and an innate idealism for our potential guiding us in shaky, yet confident steps.
With this knowledge, I also need to find my makeup for tomorrow…
as well as some clean clothes.
as well as some clean clothes.
Hebrews 10: 24-25