I’ll never be 23 in 2002, front-row in the middle of The Strokes’ set. I’d probably have a Nokia in my back pocket along with my artificially-scented strawberry gloss. My hair would definitely be parted to the side, and my brows wouldn’t be nearly as thick as they are now.
I’d be there for all the coming-of-age 00s indie music and sleazy club scenes. Social media does not exist and I am purely in the moment–the idea my forehead might be glistening with sweat is not something at the forefront of my mind. I’m not worried about any invisible social ladder, and cardigans are all the craze.
But, I’m doing fine. I’m in a ‘post-pandemic’ world, jumping from one altruistic affair to another while paying my record-breaking studio’s rent. My wardrobe is shit, the Doc Martens I’ve just bought have already skinned my heels, I had too many White Claws Saturday night and declared myself entering my so-called ‘sewer rat era’.
Adulthood is funny: it doesn’t matter how much times change, I think your 20s are always awful and intense and heartbreakingly uproarious. There are always hookups, concerts, poorly poured margaritas, and red-eye flights between your hometown and where you decided you were better off (and you are better off).
I have since left my first apartment (which was infested with creepy little spiders, had bad piping, and flooded in the torrential rain) and moved into one that is so. much. better. The windows are south-facing, and even with the blinds shuttered, I get to enjoy that warm mid-afternoon sun. I can actually get ahold of my landlord, and they fix things! Painfully bare minimum but nonetheless a gem in today’s market.
In one corner is a rack full of my shoes, right beside a desk where I have slacked on pouring my heart out on. My bed is tucked away by the windows, leaving just enough room for a bedside table, where I might stack library books, ‘since I’d decided to dedicate more time unplugged and reading. My record player is sandwiched between two non-bluetooth speakers and often plays alt-rock and pop at a level just loud enough to be danceable to, and soft enough that none of my neighbors seem to mind.
Things are looking up! I just wish I could trust that.
I wish I could feel good about things and not wonder how long it’ll be before it’s hard again. Truth be told, I wasn’t completely sure that I’d land on my feet when I moved here, but things have moved at such a lightning-speed pace that I consider myself lucky to only wobble slightly. I’ve never been gone from home so long and I’ve also never not been homesick like this before. Sure, March was hard and I missed my childhood bedroom but now that I’m in a slightly bigger shoebox–sans severely hair-pulling issues–I feel so much more at ease with my place here. It’s noticeable, too–my coworkers, manager, friends, and family have mentioned how much happier I seem.
One thing I do feel is missing is my motivation. Or focus. I’m not sure. It seems like it takes twice as much effort to entirely hone in on whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish. Whether it’s a journal entry or washing the dishes, I’m struggling to not space out. I’m there–physically–but my mind is elsewhere and it’s frustrating. Is it anxiety? Lack of sleep? I am almost 100% sure I do have insomnia. That’s probably definitely it.
I am very happy to say that I’m just overall feeling much better. I just have to be patient and know that everything will fall into place perfectly, it just takes time, and it’s never linear. In the same way, I want to take care of myself the most I possibly can, which means setting aside coping mannerisms that aren’t healthy and intentionally carving out time to reflect and check in. Given the fact I’ve moved 3(!) times in the past 3 months, I think it’s understandable I lost my mind a little bit from the stress.
My goal is honestly to take all the weird feelings, the loneliness, and that total ebbing of uncertainty and put it into something good. Whether it’s writing, the guitar propped in the corner, or just self-appreciation.