Monday night, on our way from Orlando to the Lightning vs. Sabres game in Tampa Bay, I added a video to my Instagram story of the fire-orange sunset silhouetting downtown Tampa’s skyline. It was just 1 of about 1,000 more I had seen while living in Tampa from 2009-2017. I wrote: “Missed you, pretty city.” and added a Tampa, Florida tag underneath.
A few minutes later, a former University of Tampa roommate and cross country teammate messaged me back with, “I did too. I love it, but at the same time I’m glad that chapter is closed.”
How could you not want to live here, I thought? Several years ago, if I hadn’t been in the depths of heartbreak coming off a breakup and also running into my ex’s girlfriend everywhere, there’s a good chance I’d still be living in Tampa doing God knows what. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. But as I stared out at that familiar ombre sunset, I thought about the person I was back then and how I felt during the last 1,000 times I watched a sunset fall down below the horizon. That Lindsay was lost and hurting. She was selfish and unhappy.
And then I decided she was right. Though my time in Tampa was one of my longer life chapters that I like to open every now and then for quick visits and important lessons…it has ended. My college running career has ended. The relationship that gave me my greatest love is finished. Even the car I used to drive in Tampa is probably sitting in a junkyard somewhere after I totaled it a month after moving to Colorado. Slowly, and at times painfully, it has set. All of it.
I am a different person than the one who went to school and worked and lived in Tampa. I have new friends and a new job. I have a new body size and new wardrobe to match. I even bought new bedding and trashed everything I’d used in Tampa. A full CTRL + ALT + DEL.
Maybe the universe could’ve organized things a bit more beautifully like last night’s sunset. A bit brighter and more vibrant. Maybe the universe could’ve ensured I caught even more sunsets, without so many storms, but I’m not sure they would’ve blown me all the way to Colorado—to the best place that’s ever happened to me in recent years.
I believe the universe brings you the beautiful sunsets in time, but only when you’re ready; only when you really need them.
The fact that the Lightning were playing the Sabres during the week I was in town felt like another beautiful sign from the universe. I grew up in Buffalo, New York., which is home to the Sabres, and the Lightning is my favorite team. When my dad suggested I go with him and my mom (they have season tickets to the Tampa games), I couldn’t pass it up! The two teams are sitting next to each other in the standings right now, so I knew it was going to be a great game but BOY did I underestimate.
The Lightning scored in the first :13 seconds of the game! It was unbelievable. We had all just barely settled into our seats before we were up out of them again jumping and clapping and screaming for our Bolts.
The Sabres took the lead earlier in the game…
…but after the second period, the Bolts were up 5-2 and kept their lead until the final buzzer. Though I am a Buffalo girl at heart, I feel more allegiance to the Bolts since I’ve rooted for them for the past 10 years and attended so many games when I lived by the Bay.
^^^ Giant salty pretzels are my favorite thing at hockey games.
^^^ WITH MUSTARD DUH.
The poor Sabres fans around us slowly trickled out with tails between their legs with just 5 minutes to go in the third period. I felt for them, but I was also excited for the Lightning. The game was so exciting and I’m very happy we all got to go together.
I definitely missed these moments but, I don’t mind being a visitor in Tampa for now. Because right now I’m in the beginning of a beautiful Colorado chapter, and I’m excited to see how this one unfolds thanks to the learnings of the last one.