BY LAUREN MARTIN
I’ve always looked at life as a progression of perpetual change, your story defined by the spaces between those changes, like breaks between waves. The experiences, which you account for when recalling your life story, are results of these conscious, and many times mandatory, evolutions in your life.
I’ve always been one of those people who not only welcomed change, but also looked for it. At 14, I felt my first pang of restlessness. Summers throughout my teen years were filled with trips to camps, boarding schools and anything that would occupy my restlessness. At 18, I left for college, knowing full well I would not so much as glance back. I felt that my life had finally begun as an independent adult and I could go anywhere from there. Of course, changes like studying abroad and going to college were temporary, definite periods, where part of me knew I could and would always return home.
“Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.” — Tilopa
At 21, I was back at home, in a new phase of my life, which I heard a friend insightfully define as “the bird years.” I was living at home, back in the nest, planning my flight out of there. However, days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and I was still unable to leave my comfortable, suburban home in Pennsylvania.
I had turned down two jobs in Philadelphia and planted a significant amount of doubt in my parents’ plan to have a successful, independent daughter. But I was halted. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know my next step. I had always had a detailed map laid out, but there was no plan after graduation. I could do anything I wanted. For the first time, I was the one who was drawing the next step on the map.
It wasn’t until my brother had one too many gin and tonics and told the dinner table, including me, that I was a disappointment and a joke and that I needed to get a job. However misplaced his rage was, it forced me to realize I was setting a bad example, and I needed to move away, even if it meant struggling somewhere, as long as I was out and on my own. I made a plan to move to New York and figured I could find my dreams from there.