Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stars, Stripes & Skyscrapers

My past 4th of July's have been a pleasant variation lined with a layer of hot humidity of family, beach, friends, tons of food and a fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico. Being in the city without any family or very close friends this year (My cousins Christopher and Paige were in Upstate New York for the holiday, or else I most likely would have spent it with them), I had honestly been dreading this 4th of July. Just the thought of it brought on a wave of overwhelming homesickness. I didn't want to be stuck in my room with nothing to do, while everyone else in the city was out celebrating, because the only thing more lonely than being alone is being alone surrounded by hundreds of people. Anyways, I ended up spending it with some friends from work and some of their friends by Pier 88, on the western edge of Manhattan, hanging out, eating, watching fireworks - not unlike my 4th of July traditions. It was actually really enjoyable. I felt totally comfortable with them, which was a real treat considering I haven't felt that in a while (besides being with my cousins and their friends).

One of the most difficult things about moving to a new place is having to build an entirely new network of friends. Many times I find myself wishing that I could pick up all of my friends and family from back home and plop them all down within a few blocks of me. But that would be defeating the purpose of moving to a new, foreign city.

Exploring the unfamiliar. Making a leap without the assurance of your safety net. Stumbling upon new inspirations. All of this leads to personal growth and discovery, on a level that would otherwise be impossible if not for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Without the steady warmth of familiarity, yet stifling routine-ness that comes with it, you are suddenly left to figure out everything you've unconsciously, and consciously, repressed. You're suddenly left in a room with no one but yourself. And as you're staring into this person's face, you recognize someone you think you know, but the longer you sit there staring at each other, the familiarity becomes faint and replaced with confusion and concern. But slowly, the fact that the person you thought you knew so well is actually something intriguingly new, becomes less and less scary and more and more enlightening and encouraging.

So, as painful as it is to be thousands of miles away from my dear family and home and all that is familiar, it has been invaluably rewarding to set out on this journey of self-discovery, and within it, a path towards my future and a life of my own.


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