Looking down at my once-shiny Pandora bracelet, thumbing through memories, I briefly stopped over a section and felt the world slip into reverse.
His name is Chomper and he is a hippo (yes, my charms have names…). “Well that’s an odd charm to exist…” Yeah, we thought so too. But as soon as I realized that it was one of the many charms that Pandora offered, I had to have it—and he knew. And as months went on and inside jokes amassed, more were to come.
It was Christmas morning—our first together and we sat cooped up in a huddle with Noodles, Russ and Theodore (our stuffed animal children…obviously). Everything that could have gone wrong on our Anniversary/Christmas surprise vacation (yeah, he had no idea…) did go wrong—I managed to forget my license and my credit card, his account was triple charged by Tiffany’s and the funds weren’t returned until weeks later, the weather was shit—you name it. But we were together and, at the time, that was enough.
Still groggy from one of my most drunken nights to date (thank you Sugar Factory, the wonderful couples showering us with free drinks and an overall love of all things oversized goblets and martinis), I watched as he got up, dug inside his bag and pulled out the portion of my Christmas gift that had actually arrived on time. He had been talking about how he was going to win the stocking competition for weeks (but he wasn’t because I got him a Chewbacca one and, come on, how’re you going to beat that?) and as he turned around grinning from ear-to-ear, hiding it behind his back—it was just one of those moments where the world stops and you’re incredibly thankful for the moment and the chance to feel love so deeply for another person.
Okay, I’ve got to give it to him, the minion stocking was easily a runner-up—I loved it. And inside? Amongst an assortment of goodies sat three small boxes. Not knowing what they could be, especially since I knew my jewelry present hadn’t arrived yet due to Tiffany being a hoe (we’re talking about the store here, calm down) and triple charging without delivering properly; for once I was actually surprised. After unwrapping each as carefully as I could (because I’m the person who likes to keep pieces of wrapping paper…memory boxes and whatnot), I got to welcome Lennon, Chilly and Snortimer Pigglesworth into the world (they’re charms).
Fast forward six months and I now live in the very city where those and some of my other favorite memories with him were created because I wanted to share my favorite place on earth with my favorite person. The only difference is he’s hundreds of miles away and three months P.B. (Post Becca).
And this is where compartmentalization comes in. I could dwell on that (and sometimes I do because it feels like the death of an old friend), or I can embrace it. I choose the latter.
Here I am, in this beautiful city that I’ve dreamed of for over a decade, living my dream and experiencing a lifestyle outside of anything I could’ve possibly imagined. Most of my days are fully consumed from the crack of dawn with yoga, then working longer hours than I ever have before, followed by running or working out, getting home around 9:30, wrapping up one day and preparing for the next. For the most part I keep my eye on the prize (aka living with a present mind) and keeping memories compartmentalized.There are days where I’m incredibly happy and days where I just feel out of it, wrapped in the past and wondering if I’m remembered back home. There are moments of pure bliss and, alternately, instances filled with earth-shattering sadness.
Since being here, I’ve made it my overarching goal to use this dream-come-true-relocation as an opportunity to progress on the path of self-actualization. Every day I embrace living independently and getting outside of my comfort zone—whether that means exploring a new culinary dish, living way too far away from my best friends (except for V and THANK GOD she lives here because it’s always good to have at least one of your ride-or-dies around) and having to open up to meeting new people, not relying on a significant other (or looking for one), learning to do things for myself instead of always expecting my mom to come through and reading Tara Brach in an attempt to harness the mentality of Buddha in order to experience without judgment all that is happening within my life—both mentally and physically. It is through these experiences that I am learning that each day, I am one stride closer to exactly where I want to be (and who I want to be, for that matter)—a person capable of embracing her surroundings, falling in love with the world and her life and being worthy of the reciprocal.
And, in the midst of all that, there are these moments where I pause and look down at those four charms (and a few others), remembering what it’s like to love and be loved in an all encompassing, take your breath away kind of way and, despite what many of my friends and family think and say about how much I need to remember all the bad things, that’s how I want to remember it. I want to tuck away the very best of him, of us. I want to remember everything that made the moments with him some of the best of my life, because it’s those very memories that will remind me all of the reasons that I’m okay and that I’m capable of loving with every ounce of my being—capable of becoming my ideal self. One day…
And, partially because of that, I know that I’m lucky and I’m thankful everyday that I get to wake up, head to yoga and be hit with the reality that, in a way, I’ve made it. Life may not have panned out exactly how I had planned–madly in love and engaged by 24 (yeah, I made a timeline), but I ended up where I wanted to be and it’s finally time to grasp every experience as an opportunity to be who I want to be—because lets be honest, in the end, we’re the only ones in charge of our own destiny– might as well give it 100%. And like I said, one day, that 100% will prove it’s worth tenfold and I’m certain that the love and life I’ve always been dreaming of will reveal itself–who knows, maybe it already has. After all, life has a funny way of being exactly what you need it to be, even if you don’t know it yet.