Friday, August 3, 2007

The Next Chapter

One of my best friends left LA last night to go and get married in Australia. She and her fiance are happily awaiting their nuptials in a few weeks. They met 2 years ago, fell in love quickly, and decided to get hitched. After they get married, they are permanently relocating to Australia to start their new life together.

In the past couple of years, many of my friends have been getting married, having babies and moving to new cities, in hopes of embarking on the next chapter of their lives. I can't help but think back to a conversation I had with my mother when I was 25 years old. She insisted on bursting the fantasy bubble I lived in at the time. Back then, all I cared about was having a great time with my girlfriends and not putting too much thinking towards the future. I always had big dreams of what I thought the future held for me but when I was younger, the "future" seemed so far away. I was more interested in where my next cocktail was coming from!

So my all too responsible Mother decides to sit me down one holiday while I was visiting her and says, "Baby, I know you love how your life is right now but it will change soon. Your friends will get married and move on and you have to start preparing for that". Of course I knew my fantasy bubble couldn't last forever but I wasn't ready to step out of it. Not quite yet. I didn't want to discuss the topic any further so I just said my infamous, "I know that Mom!"

Fast forward 5 years to present day and she was right. I knew she was right because she is always right and not in the "Parent's have life experience" under their belt kind of right. My mother is extremely intuitive and kinda clairvoyant at times; so she is always right even when I don't want her to be. I took heed to what she told me 5 years ago and in the past 2 years, I slowly started taking steps to prepare for the next chapter.

It might sound odd but I purposely stopped hanging out with my close circle of friends as much. I stopped being the friend they could always count on as being present at every social occasion. I started hanging out with just myself so I could learn to be happy with just me. I took myself out to dinner, movies and the occasional bar and I had fun with me. I began to learn how to not make the life I had with my friends so crucial to my existence.

The next chapter of life can mean many different things at different stages of our lives. It can be going to college, starting your career, getting married, having babies or dealing with the death of loved ones. But underneath it all, I think my mother was trying to tell me that the next chapter of life is learning how to be alone and enjoying it.

Learning how to be alone comes at different times for everyone and no one can escape it. Friends leave, siblings leave, children leave and spouses leave. The only person that will always be left is you. My mother says I am lucky to learn this life lesson now when I am young than when I am old. She didn't learn how to enjoy being alone until I went away to college and she still says that was the hardest moment she had faced in her life up until then. Codependency can truly be a bitch at times.

I still soak up and love the company of my friends but I have left the fantasy bubble and I have no intentions of ever going back.

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