Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 1st (well, 2nd) Day of the Rest of My Life

I had this moment walking home yesterday from my first day at my new job, this moment where I actually stepped away from my physical body and hovered over myself, taking the entire scene in and feeling completely astonished.  Because at 24 (and a half, but who's counting), yesterday was the first day of my adult life or, to be more specific, my life as an adult on my own.  I am 3000 miles away from my dear parents and beginning to do things totally (mostly) on my own for the first time.  Yesterday was literally the first day of the rest of my life.

I can't say that I've dreamt of this moment my whole life because really, I didn't ever think of this moment specifically before last night, but it seems like something one should dream about--the day when you are on your own for reals, the day when you become responsible for you entirely.  Don't misunderstand me, my parents haven't tossed me off completely, they are still helping me until my first paycheck comes in (ok, maybe until the 2nd comes in.  They are the best).  But once that happens, it is Ashleigh responsibility time.  And you know what? Even though that is completely terrifying, it is also super exciting.  I've sort of been waiting for this time in my life for a while, ever since graduating from college in fact.  And even though right now it feels a little bit like I'm just visiting New York for funsies, I know that feeling is going to go away soon (or at least diminish).  Things are finally starting to take shape for me in this city that I love and I sort of can't believe it.  I get to do so many lovely and fun things here in New York, which include but aren't limited to-: 1) live in my favorite city, 2) work in my field doing something I actually believe in and enjoy, 3) play guitar for tiny people on a regular basis (starting next week!), 4) see my beautiful college friends whenever I can/want, 5) eat all the yummy food New York City has to offer.  My dear friend Kyle said it best: what an amazing time to be alive and living in New York City.

I've mentioned it before (at least twice), but during college I would walk around the city and be stopped dead in my tracks because I realized, "I live here.  I can't believe it."  It still happens and every time I get the same tingle down my spine and smile across my face.  I feel constantly elated that I get to live my life in the place of my dreams every single day.  How many people get to say that?  And sometimes when I feel that familiar smile start to cross my face I fast forward 20 or 30 years into the future and I look back at this time on my life and I feel incredibly blessed and grateful, saying to myself (and my future family), "How lucky was I that I got to be young and alive in New York City at such a time? Isn't that amazing?!  Let me tell you, future as-yet-unnamed-child-of-mine, it was amazing to me even then." (this is totally true and a totally unweird conversation to imagine, by the way).

Being able to consult with my future self is sort of a new thing and I assume comes from getting older.  I swear, I just had this moment about a year ago while, I believe, I was watching an episode Bones that I suddenly became aware of how fragile and imminent the end is.  Now, I know that this sounds a) like something some sort of paranoid hypochondriac would say and b) a little overly dramatic, but it is true.  For some reason, on this day, sitting on the couch alone in my parents living room, I realized that, at some point, I will no longer exist.  And while the crushing weight of this terrifying realization washed over me, I was met with what is probably the most comforting image that has ever come to my mind.  It was of me, a very old and crimpy and completely content grey-haired lady, laying in a bed at the end, surrounded by my family.  And I concede that this image is likely something I've constructed out of scenes from movies and television shows, but I none the less was calmed by it.  Because it seemed to mean that there was something out there for me, something I was and have always been driving towards--a life. A full, beautiful, exciting life.  And every choice that I make is leading me towards that moment and all the moments before it.  What a fantastic and transcendent thought, ay?  I am learning to accepted that every step of my journey to that image is taking me exactly where I need to go and teaching me what I need to learn, even if I often have no idea what I'm going or where I am going.  The not knowing is half the fun, right?  Truthfully, I don't know if I completely agree with that statement but I am learning to be ok with it and allow for the possibility that it might be true.

So here I am, on the 2nd day of the rest of my life, journey yet to be written, but knowing a beautiful and satisfying destination lies just beyond it.  Not too shabby for a Wednesday, I'd say. Not too shabby at all.


  1. You Are making your mother and father cry.

  2. This is beautiful. I don't know if I am striving toward that moment when I'm living absolutely and completely for myself, but I do know that I am excited about everything ahead of me. To be able to look forward and see the infinte possibility of the future? That's brilliant and terrifying and comforting and motivating all at the same time.