In 2014 I made a resolution: To trust more. For me, this was complicated, despite the simplicity of the phrase. Trusting more meant worrying less, not being afraid of the future, or other things I can’t control. It also meant having more faith, taking more risks, being more comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s an ongoing practice, and will always require attention, but 2014 definitely helped me reset with this intention. Here’s what I learned.
Tomorrow I turn 25, a year that’s been sort of brooding on the horizon for some time now. It goes way back. When I was 22 trolling the Newport Beach bars with Stephanie and company, 25 was this mystical year in which our drunken nights, mindless beach days, and personal freedom would be a thing of the past. You see, we got lucky after college: landed awesome houses on the beach, got good jobs that allowed us for the first time to have more money than time, and were embracing the single life the way few people can. But at 25 we figured this would all be gone. At 25 we might be married the way our parents had been, we might be over going out every night, and we’d most certainly be over the adult-frat life of the Newport Beach peninsula.
It’s been three years since graduating college and entering into “real life.” Nothing’s really changed: Stephanie joined the corporate world and started crushing professional life, Justine got herself married and moved to NorCal, and I found freelancing to be one of the most time-consuming jobs in the world. Okay, I lied. Everything’s changed since the three of us were playing hippie on the Newport Beach peninsula, only worried about making it to class the next day or some paper due by midnight. Needless to say, it’s time to start a yearly getaway with the girls. This year we chose the ACE Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs for a weekend escape.
“But why didn’t you to Paris?” Drea asked, interrupting my long-winded tale of how I ended up walking Camino Santiago.
There’s this funny trend I’ve observed while practicing yoga with my friends that I think applies to lots of things in life. When someone begins practicing, the first couple of weeks are hard in a good way and there’s a very clear motivation to achieve something. When it starts to become a routine, yoga becomes an addicting and almost religious dedication. You can see the pride and the determination to go farther. And then something weird happens. It could be a minor setback or a change in schedule or some other uncontrollable thing that makes tests the dedication to the practice. There’s a moment of confusion and, when you don’t freak out against whatever happened the ego becomes terrified that it’s becoming less needed and immediately looks for a reason to quit. And that’s when the love affair with yoga ends. People quit the second that not quitting matters most.
How weird to be back in a city again. I have to say, going to the city life in Amsterdam and Utrecht right after my week on the tiny island of Jersey really heightened the experience for lots of reasons. In Jersey, though I felt very physically ostracized and out of place with the bike riding (who knew there were laws with bikes), quiet atmosphere, reserved conversations, and terrifying earthquakes that were really windstorms, I felt remarkably at peace and comfortable. Each thought was a fantastic conversation and I felt like the world could be lived more simply than I had even imagined. On top of the location, I spent the afternoons and evenings with my Scottish friend Susan and her boyfriend Gary. They are figuring out how to live together, and I watched them call each other out for not getting the oil for the heat, dance in pajamas, and veg out with tv, wine, and chocolate after a long work day. I laughed with Susan as she planned out her simple wedding and then laughed harder when she brought it up casually around Gary. She would say yes if he asked, she nudged and he laughed as well. They are in love in this adorably domestic way, a way I only pretended to know in my past relationships.
Stanley is from Sudan. When he approached us, we told him we didn’t speak Spanish to avoid him. He switched his language to English and said, “Please, I speak English too. I implore you to help me.” We hesitated for a minute, and Alysse handed him a euro.
“Thank you so much,” he said, and he slumped his shoulders and took the euro with appreciation and guilt. I couldn’t help myself, “What’s your name?” I asked. His name is Stanley.