A month or so after I moved to D.C. in 2014, the District experienced its first spring day. I was still getting acquainted with the city and wanted to seize the opportunity to explore. I rented a bike and went from the Sculpture Garden to Columbia Heights to Logan Circle.
At one point, while biking around U Street at 3 or 4 p.m. I rode past several bars, most of which had recently opened up their patio spaces to accompany all those wishing to be in Mother Nature’s delight. One after the other, they were packed with women wearing floral dresses and men in khakis and button-up shirts, everyone wearing Ray Bans. Their hands were occupied with a glass or can. They laughed, chatted loudly. What a lovely day, I imagined they said to each other.
I didn’t know many people in the city at the time, and even though I was slowly making friends, they weren’t calling me for day drinks. It didn’t matter if they did, though, because I didn’t have much money. My rent, a small bedroom in a house shared with three other women, cost me exactly half of my month’s salary at a small non-profit. That day, I had packed my own lunch because I knew that I couldn’t afford to eat along the way. I kept going, hoping to get away from those bars and the reminders of what I didn’t have.
Spring in Chicago is my favorite season because the entire city lights up and there is an energy that wasn’t there in March. Last night, we made our way to Southport Avenue, where restaurants had pulled out their patio furniture so men and women wearing only single layers, mostly Cubs attire, could enjoy their meals outside. We found our way to the end of the stretch, a bar with outdoor seating in the front. Our friends were there, pulling up chairs for my love and I to enjoy. We laughed, told stories, I ordered a soda instead of a beer – it was a fantastic night.
Life amazes me sometimes.
I bring this up because I often come to this space to vent our my frustrations and hash out all the things I think aren’t going well in my life. The truth is, that if you and I were to have a conversation, I wouldn’t likely talk so frankly the way I do on this blog. I’d sound chipper, a bit more optimistic. There is more to who I am each day than the things I complain about on this blog.
And, I have to remember that, too. It’s always my goal to practice more gratitude, but I never get really far than saying, “Yeah, I should do that.” But as the seasons change and life comes out from underneath winter’s shadow, I’, reenergized, hopeful even. I struggle with demons that I know and don’t, but I also am rewarded with gifts beyond my comprehension. These are truths, so is that I have the power to ever be thankful or complain.
As I continue to struggle with sobriety and my purpose on this Easter Sunday, I remind myself of what I’ve gained in previous challenges. I made it out of those hard, lonely times better, and I will this, too, if only for grace and gratefulness.
I’ve decided to discontinue the best and worst parts of my week. They began to repeat themselves and seemed forced most weeks. Maybe I’ll bring them back, but because I am now halfway through this journey I decided it was a good time to break.