Monday, March 23, 2009

Nora Day #18 I'm Back

      I just arrived at my cafe around the corner and have set up my computer and books just so at my usual table. The quirky-cute barista made heart-shaped latte art on the top of my cappuccino. The sun isn't shining, but the wind off the lake is calm and I didn't have to wear a jacket outside. Today is going to be a great day.
      So, I know it has been a while. I have done an outstanding job of skipping out on the Monday entries and obligatory check-ins I had assigned myself upon turning 23 in order to "find balance." After a strong streak of thirteen back-to-back entries followed by an abrupt halting of inspiration and the ability to put words on the page I found that finding balance requires falling, words require silence, and blog entries require lack thereof.
      With that said, I took a much needed break. Not just from the blog, but from life, from Chicago and the unavoidable winter blahs. And got on a plane to San Francisco.
      Instead of riding the el to work, I took the passenger seat to a couple of my best friends and let my chest swell as they drove me across the Golden Gate Bridge, Yeasayer's "Sunrise" blaring out of the speakers. Instead of bundling up for my half-marathon training, I ran around the bay in shorts and a t-shirt and came back with little pink on my cheeks. I squeezed myself and my journal in the last open seat at a cafe packed with Berkeley students, fitting in rather well. I found a square in an alley sidewalk near Chinatown that read, "The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world." And at the end of it all, I said easy goodbyes and got on my returning flight with a light heart. Because I knew I was coming back.
      I spent Nora Day # in San Francisco, I won't say I didn't do that on purpose. I was overflowing as I was writing it. That's the only way I can describe that feeling. I wasn't overflowing with words or thoughts or ideas...it felt like my chest was literally going to break open and a sea of something was going to flood the entire cafe, drenching every patron and barista in it. What is that?
      I neglected to post that entry right away because, as hard as it is for someone so emotionally driven, I am trying to be realistic about this whole San Francisco thing. I want to be able to explain what it is and what it means to me rather than it coming off as an escape. To an outsider it easily looks like I am running away. But to run away, there has to be something to run away from. And I don't feel like I am doing that. I love Chicago. A piece of me will always be here. But it's time for the next step, and I have found something to run towards.
      Now that the dust has settled after a few weeks back at the grind, I feel exactly the same way. And can't wait to see what's next.

ENTRY FROM NORA DAY #16 SAN FRANCISCO EDITION

Dear Gut,

      Yes, I agree with you. This wasn't just a recharging of batteries. This was a discovery.
      Gut, I hear you loud and clear. But please keep shouting. Throw yourself against the walls of my ribcage if you have to. Because upon returning to an easier option, I might not hear you.
      Hold me to it, and remind of the following:
      I'm in love with this city, the way it makes me feel. It's slower than Chicago. It's warmer than Chicago. It feels younger than Chicago. Chicago is a preserver of culture, whereas San Francisco is the creator of culture. You need both.
      This city speaks to a different piece of me I didn't know I liked or had. Energy saving light bulbs illuminate cafes and baristas say, "Groovy." Cars stop for me while I am out on a run. Strangers talk to me as if we were reengaging in a previous conversation from earlier that day. The mountains make me sick for Europe. The ocean makes me sick for Thailand. It calls so many different pieces of me out from hiding...I've never felt them all come to the surface simultaneously before.
      Although it feels right, a move out wouldn't be easy. I don't exactly have a job (yet) or bundles or money to throw around (ever?) but I think the decision has been made. And I'd be a fool, a wondering-and-stuck-on-what-if fool if I didn't let myself take this leap.
      Chicago fulfilled it's purpose. It gave me exactly what I asked from it - a year in a great city to get my shit together. It gave me space to refine my passion (writing) and discover new ones (yoga). It showed me I can be an adult, that I do, in fact, understand the reality of bills, income, savings and splurges. It gave my mind room to stretch out beyond wild possibilities and granted me time to sit at the edge of every branch and contemplate whether the potential fall is worth it. It might not be a solid path I'm on, but I would rather see them all than be blinded by one.
      It's time to do this.
      Thank you, Gut. Hope to hear from you soon.

Nora

1 comment:

M.Marie said...

Good for you Nora. It's wonderful to hear you so excited about life again.