When I first moved away from the tri-state area, to Colorado, I remember my mom telling me that it takes about two years of living somewhere to start to feel settled there. That’s about how long it takes to get to know the city, make some real friends, find your favorite coffee shop and bookstore, and figure out where you fit in with what the city has to offer. In other words, two years is how long it takes to start feeling a sense of community. This timeframe has proven true in all three cities that I’ve lived in since I graduated. The flaw in the plan is that I left both Fort Collins and Austin soon after I hit that mark.
Because of Santa Cruz’s culture, I made friends and felt like the city was a fit from the get-go. After all, I chose to live here; CO and TX were both a result of Adam’s job and – while I was not opposed to living in either, very much enjoyed both, and remain grateful for the time that I spent there – they were not places that I would’ve thought of living had Intel not been located there. Santa Cruz is the first place that I’ve lived that I decided that I wanted to live in, and went about making that happen.
That being said, I’ve now been living here for about two and a half years, and I found myself telling my parents during our Skype date last week about just how settled I feel here, and how much I love the different communities that I’ve found.
Last Friday night was a really special night for me at Al-Anon. A friend of mine that currently leads the Friday night meeting texted me on Thursday afternoon to ask me to “chair” that meeting. Which basically means that you share a bit of your own story – what brought you to Al-Anon, what you are learning, where you’re at now – for about 15 minutes in the beginning of the meeting; and then, for the rest of meeting, most of the people who “share” talk about the parts of your story that they related to.
I was nervous. While I am pretty comfortable with public speaking and have been giving educational presentations to various community agencies throughout my career, publicly speaking about myself makes me feel a bit more vulnerable. 😬 But I’ve been trying to practice this concept that I learned from either Brené Brown or Glennon (or both) about changing the thing that you value from “doing things well/perfectly/right” to “courage.” That way, all that you have to do to “succeed” is show up. It doesn’t matter what happens after that; if you fumble for words or fall on your face, you had the courage to show up and that’s all that matters.
So, I showed up. And wore my favorite rainbow tie-dye dress for confidence (and distraction). Glennon has written before about sweating profusely when she’s nervous or gives public speeches, but I always thought she was being a tiny bit dramatic. I thought wrong. She gives speeches to hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people, and I gave mine to a group of about ten, and, literally, my entire body was covered in sweat by the time I finished talking. And I didn’t stop sweating until about 35 minutes after.
BUT, I did it. And people told me that they liked it. One of my girlfriends told me that they felt like I was giving a presentation, like a TED talk. It was all very flattering and self-esteem boosting. AND, the best part was that, afterwards, this woman who is about my age, that I’ve been inspired by since I started going to Al-Anon, that I had actually hoped would be there that night to see my chair, came to talk to me about being my sponsor. Like AA/NA, the Al-Anon program also includes sponsorship and “working the  steps,” and I’ve been thinking more seriously about getting a sponsor for the past few months. And I’ve been thinking that it should be this woman! So, that was pretty amazing. She is not officially my sponsor yet; I have to call her every day for thirty days to check-in, which is mainly to demonstrate a level of commitment to the process and for us to get to know each other better.
[Another great part of that night was simply hanging out with some of my girlfriends. One of my friends and I stayed and talked for over an hour after the meeting. Al-Anon has gotten a lot more fun for me since A) There are more young peoples, and B) I started talking to them. Now, going to meetings is becoming synonymous with going to hang out with my friends.]
I also have my work friends, who are some of my favorite people in the world, and my Buddhist group friends, who are incredibly lovely and full of wisdom. I have coworkers that I am friendly with, and whom I really respect and enjoy working alongside every day. I have a job that I really love and feel passionate about, that has great benefits [OMG. The benefits. We had a mini presentation about them this week, after which I turned to my friend that has a three year-old daughter and said, “Well, I guess that I’m going to watch K grow up and have kids because I’m clearly retiring from here.’], and that I am feeling more and more confident at doing everyday. I have my favorite hiking spots, and am always finding more; I have my favorite bookstore, thrift store, grocery, farmer’s market, float center, and coffee shop; I know the differences between all the beach spots and neighborhoods, and I know when and where the traffic will be the worst. And there’s so much more to explore and try and learn. I love this city that I call home, and the community that I have found within it.
Other wonderful and fun things that have happened lately:
Rooms had her baby!!! ❤️ Much like during weddings, I found myself sobbing when I received the first picture of the miracle baby for reasons that I didn’t understand. I cannot wait to meet her – and to see the sisters together 👭 in September.
Danny and I saw the band, Portugal. The Man., at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. [And I didn’t take a SINGLE DAMN PICTURE.] It was a beautiful, outdoor, amphitheatre with no bad seats. Not that we were sitting. Danny and I share the belief that the best way to enjoy live music is to dance our little hearts out. We had a blast.
The next day, I was a bit tired from the concert, and ended up watching The Matrix for the first time in my life. When I explained to Danny that I had never watched it because people had told me that it was hard to follow and I didn’t think that I’d understand it, he gave me a sideways look and pointed out that I was much younger and maybe now that I’m thirty-two, it might not be so far over my head. 🙃 And I loved it! So much so that I’ve suggested that we watch it again – along with the sequel – at least seven times since.
I started a new puzzle that my dad got me from The Magic Garden in Philly last time that I visited. Starting a new 1000-piece puzzle with itty-bitty pieces is always a bit intimidating, and I never have any idea how I’m actually going to do it. It’s puzzling! 😜🤔🤓
Otherwise, life is the usual mix of friends, sunshine, hiking, yoga, reading (Loving Day is the current read), journaling, Bullet Journaling, meditation, cooking, Al-Anon meetings, Buddhist meetings, hanging with Danny, chores, and working. How do people fit children into their lives? I barely fit in time to write this blog or send an email (Alix – you’re still on my list! 😘). Parents are heroes. ❤️
Love yous. 🤗😘🤗😘