As you may or may not know, the company I work for opened an office in Richmond last year, which prompted me to move at the end of October 2017.
I was both excited and nervous, as I’d never actually moved outside of Northern Virginia, except for school and part-time jobs.
Things quickly changed from excitement and nervousness to uncertainty and anxiety. I moved into a 400-something square foot studio, which during my first week in Richmond, I discovered was infested with fleas. They left me with 30-or-so scars on my legs, which I get to show off this summer and for years to come.
The person who lives next door is some kind of a musician and/or music teacher, which is totally fine, except for the fact that he often likes to play the drums at 2 am (not kidding).
Work had been super stressful, which had me questioning why I was making this sacrifice in the first place. I mean, I don’t know a soul in Richmond, I miss my boyfriend and my two kitties that I love so much, and I was trading much of that in for flea bites and restless nights.
At some point, my whirlwind of thoughts transported me back to the one regret I have in life. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve made a lot of poor decisions, some for which I’ve went to jail for. Multiple times. But I don’t regret things because I really have grown and learned so much through experiences both good and bad.
The one regret I do have is that I didn’t make the most of my college years. And I know that sounds silly, but I had the opportunity — I was given the privilege — to go to college; yet, even though I graduated, I can’t join in when people talk about those fun college years, or when people meet up with their now-best-friends made in college. I was an awesome student growing up — straight A’s, school president, first chair in orchestra — but I threw that all away.
As soon as I graduated high school, I jetted off to California. It was the most beautiful campus in the country (literally), but I had so much emotional instability and social anxiety that I ran back to DC after a couple of semesters. I went to community college for a bit. Then I went to a school in Canada. Freaking Canada. I still had a boyfriend in Virginia, and I spent money to fly back every chance that I got. Even though I transported myself all the way to Canada, my mind was somewhere else, and I spent more time on my phone and buying plane tickets than I did trying to make new friends and new memories. I ended up coming back to DC yet again and taking classes at George Mason and NOVA and online classes and eventually earned my degree, but all the while hanging out with the wrong kinds of people and making the kinds of decisions that landed me behind bars. Oh yeah, and the guy I was dating while I was in Canada I later found out was cheating on me the entire time.
So that is my one regret, that I take full ownership of — those years that I decided to throw away and will never be able to get back.
Which brings me back to my current situation.
I fully realized that I had three choices — I could say fuck it and quit my job and move back to DC; I could continue to stay in Richmond and shut down and hide behind misery; or I could try and learn from my “lost years” and make an effort to embrace the change and make the most out of this current chapter in my life.
So this past weekend, I decided to stay in Richmond instead of driving back to DC, for the first time since moving down here.
On Saturday morning, I went for a run and explored eight miles worth of trails in the area. And since I literally know nobody in Richmond except my co-workers, I started a Meetup group to find women around my age who are in a similar boat. I ended up going out Saturday night and meeting some pretty cool new people — we had good conversation and laughs over dinner and then beers at a nearby brewery.
On Sunday, I joined a running club. I like to train alone, but I wanted to find some people to run with socially outside of that — non-competitive and just for fun. Well this group was just what I was looking for. It was a bunch of just really nice and (my kind of) weird people running through trails, rocks and mud, getting lost, stopping occasionally to drink beer in the woods and then have a get-together just to keep the fun going. It was pretty awesome.
That might sound like any normal weekend, but I’m very much an introvert and still have social anxiety, so it took a lot of courage for me to do these things not knowing anyone. And I definitely still need my alone time, but it felt good and right to make an effort and put myself out there. And you know what? I’m fucking proud of that. Friendships take a long time to develop, especially for people like me who are slow to tear down their walls, but they’re never going to happen if you don’t start somewhere. And what you don’t like about your life is never going to change unless you do something about it.
So my current mindset, despite the rough transition I’ve had, is to embrace what my life is at the moment and try and make it the best it can be, however this chapter may end. Maybe when this chapter closes, I can say that I no longer have any regrets.