When Things Don't Go According to Plan
I’ve always loved riding my bike. Not just for the unparalleled convenience in getting from A to B, but for the time it allows me to think.
If you think about it, in the car you’re too distracted to really think. You’re focused on driving, traffic, the radio or your passengers. But on a bicycle, there’s nothing to distract you from your thoughts. It’s just you absorbing all of your surroundings in that exact moment: the wind lifting your hair from your perspiring neck, the grey shade of the gravel road like a slice of deli roast beef between the green fields on either side of you. You could be anywhere in the world, a few blocks from the suburb you grew up in or a few thousand miles from the place you called home for 22 years.
If you’ve read my previous post for this blog (hi, Mom) you might think I’m describing biking through the picturesque tulip fields of Holland. After all, that’s where I thought I was headed… until about two weeks ago. It was the middle of August and my boyfriend was waiting on an acceptance letter from a university in Holland. I knew that I was having less and less time to prepare for the move and that made me feel panicked. Long story short, we made an executive decision to move not across the ocean, but two hours away by car to wine country. Niels had been accepted to a Canadian school and we could live rent free at his grandparents’ place until we got our own place. That letter from Holland never ended up coming, but that’s a story for another time.
We packed up a U-Haul full of furniture, my gargantuan closet and our orange tabby cat and headed to Niagara on the Lake.
We’ve been here two weeks, and I am the happiest I’ve been in months. There is something so comforting in routine, at least for me. Going from four years of university class schedules and part-time retail working hours to a consistent Monday through Friday 9 to 5 job where we eat dinner at 6 pm every night is a nice change (especially when it’s delicious homemade by grandma and grandpa food!)
For the first time in a long time, I have free time to write, visit friends in the city and spend quality time with my boyfriend. Although it’s not a routine I want to settle into forever, it’s what I need right now. Eventually, I want to travel, get my Master’s and work at my dream job once I figure out what that is. And right now I’m taking that time to figure it out.
I feel like I’m making progress towards becoming a real adult: I am financially independent, I have a real 40 hours a week job, and I am even working on getting my driver’s license. For the first time in six years, I got behind the wheel of a car and practiced driving in a parking lot with my boyfriend. Although I was too timid to go faster than 15 miles an hour, I managed to do proper turns, parking and I even backed out of a spot. It’s the little things, right?
The truth is, I really didn't imagine myself here in this small town a few months after graduation. If you told me a year ago I'd be living in my boyfriend's grandparents’ basement and working at a winery, I'd have been a little disappointed. But regardless, it's good for me right now and truthfully, I am happy. I still have nights where I feel guilty for being happy with my life here; I sometimes feel like a failure for being here in the first place, for not living a flashier life.
But you have to let go of the guilt, the feelings of failure, the anxiety about the future and just enjoy where you are and what you have now. No one's life is perfect and definitely no one is happy 24/7. We have our good and bad days, but if you have people who love you, a roof over your head and something that brings you joy at least once a day, you're doing all right, kid.
Right now, I'm happy to ride my bike down the gravel roads, work at the winery, eat pancakes for dinner with my boyfriend and his grandparents. I'm happy to drink wine on wraparound porches and I'm happy to go out for $3.49 breakfasts at the local diner and look up at the stars over the lake because stars have this way of convincing me that everything is going to be all right. That I'm going to be all right. That I am, right now, all right.
[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]