watching leaves change, watching views change

lately i've been walking through central park on my way to class. at least while the weather is nice, i like taking the time. sometimes i stop and read and other times i just wander over to the east side. i think i threw away my headphones by accident a week ago so lately i've been going music less (which i was kinda doing before since music seems to sometimes trigger a flood of emotions i'm not ready for. friday night i made the mistake of listening to these two songs and, well, it wasn't pretty. also, i've only listened to nina simone once in the last four weeks, which, if you know me, is pretty crazy and must mean i am trying to avoid some major feels).

anyway, without music, i usually am just talking to myself (in my head) on these walks. i am parsing information. i am taking myself in.

today two things came to mind while walking.

the first is that i love new york and i love new york in the fall. autumn in new york pretty much plays on repeat in my memory as i walk. and it occurred to me that this is a chance for me to date NYC a little (carrie style). just me and the city, getting to know each other as adults. i know so many of the streets and neighborhoods, but not as someone who lives here and is creating an adult life here.

and it occurred to me that i'm not sure when or if i'll leave NYC. because when i am only taking into account me and my needs and my wants, NYC seems like the place to be and the place i want to be and like it is home...and a month ago, i wouldn't have said that. which got me thinking about change and how certain things change when things like breakups happen.

which brings me to the other thing i've been thinking about...

in less than five months, i'll be 30. no worries, this is not a post about freaking out about that. it is just something i've been thinking about. sometimes i can't believe that i am 29, that 30 is so close. i often walk around feeling like a 14 year old in grown-up clothing. i often feel like i am just as clueless as i was when i was a teen. in some ways, i think i had a better sense of everything when i was 13.

getting older complicates things. mostly i can see the grey in life a lot more than i could then.

perhaps as we get older, we realize that we don't know much of anything. or rather, as we become experts in specific domains, we realize that there are millions of other domains we have no sense of.

anyway. i've been thinking about the upcoming milestone.

i was talking to someone about how breakups can change the weirdest things. you change the restaurants you order from. you change the stores you shop in. you may even change the brands you buy.

and i realized that this breakup, at least right now, has sort of changed how i am looking at turning 30.

certain parts are obvious. i thought that i'd be turning 30 with a partner in tow. i thought certain aspects of my life, like marriage and children, may not be that far off. that is different now. my timeline was changed and now i feel like the future is one big blurry ass mess. i can't even imagine my 30th birthday party, the one i have promised to have, because, well, i can't picture who is with me (i also try to avoid imagining thanksgiving and christmas and new years because i don't really like the holidays and i can already feel that they are going to be get tough to get through this year. bah. just wake me up in march). basically, i try not to imagine anything...but that is a whole other story.

and yet i also know that, well, it is sort of this awesome thing to be facing 30 after all of this has gone down. because it is teaching me even more about myself. because i am begrudgingly getting to know myself more deeply than before. because there is beauty and there is strength in dusting yourself off and trying again. because, in some quiet moments, i can feel the possibility beneath the surface. sometimes i feel like i am dating myself, seeing myself for who i am and what i need and, hopefully, getting better about naming and saying those things. i feel like life is trying to drop a little more wisdom before i kiss my 20s goodbye.

and, of course, i know that time is funny and in the four months and twenty-six days i have until my birthday, everything can change again. who knows what turning 30 will look like. and there is excitement in that...unless i imagine myself at a bar alone. that would suck, guys. y'all better come.

basically, my view is changing, has been changed. i'm dating myself and new york (and hopefully a guy will emerge from the depths eventually), which i didn't expect to be doing, but rarely does life go to plan...[and really, let's celebrate that because if life had gone to 13 year old charly's plan i would be a lawyer in tailor-made suits who went to harvard and never dabbled in yoga or theater or retail or social work or any of the other things i did...which is fine, of course, but not close to who i am. truth be told, that plan still sounds appealing, but i think because i just want to play one on TV (or like make enough money for all my clothes to get tailored so i look amazing).]

and that feels weird and great and awesome and scary and sad and filled with possibility.