Ali and I had coffee again.
This Ali. The one who dropped all that amazing universe talk on me last weekend. (See below.)
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We chatted about work and school and fitness and figuring out how to create lives we can be proud of.
She really is one of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met, and so much wiser than her 24 years. If it sounds like I have a crush on her, well, it’s because I totally do. She has become one of my closest friends over the past few months—and now I’m leaving her in just a week. So that’s got me feeling all sorts of feelings.
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I got to the coffee shop first today, so when she plopped down in the chair, she immediately looked right at my face and said, “So, how are you doing?? How are things? What have you been up to??” As if it had been years since we last saw each other. All I can do is smile and ask her the same because I know she really cares and really wants to know.
We sipped our coffees and chatted about our weeks. Then we dug into the meaty things. I gushed (again) about how much I would miss her and Tampa and the little coffee shop we meet at every weekend just down the block from our apartments.
I said: “I’ll come back and everything will be different. Hyde Park will be grown up. And I’ll miss it. And I’ll miss this coffee shop so much. I love this coffee shop!”
She laughed at me like she absolutely should because I’m nuts, and replied: “I know. But there are coffee shops everywhere, especially in Colorado.”
Ugh…SWANK. (Her last name and my nickname for her.) She gets me. She knows what I need to hear.
Leaving a place I love is new to me. I’ve never left a job I truly loved and appreciated like I’m doing in just a couple days. I have never left a city that transformed me like Tampa has. (Except that one terrible time I lived in Ft. Lauderdale for six months. We’re not digging up those memories.)
This goodbye is going to be one of the hardest. But also, one of the most necessary. Because not only have I lived and loved here, but I lost here. Big time. I lost the love of my life and then I lost a huge part of myself, and haven’t been the same. That’s another post coming this week.
But Swank is totally right—there are coffee shops everywhere. And people and ideas and adventures and successes and failures. (And lululemon stores.) I think it’s necessary at some point in life to seek them out. To run towards them even if that means running away from somewhere you’ve been comfortable for eight years. We’re allowed to be totally infatuated with a city that holds an infinite amount of memories and then leave it to make new ones.
Up until today I wasn’t sure I had enough space in my heart for another city because Tampa’s got dibs on 99% of it.
But I’ll never know if I never go. You know?
I’ll find another coffee shop out there—probably dozens. I will make friends and ride my bike and let the mountain air steal all the oxygen from my lungs. And, if I’m lucky, I’ll find a new city and turn it into a home just like I did with Tampa.
We push on, PUSH ANIMALS >>>
If you’re craving a little more, check out this podcast with Angela Naeth. She did what I’m doing: running away to find peace and happiness again. I stopped and cried mid-run this morning. True story.