The Aftermath

“It’s like heaven to hear your voice,” my friend J said, “but
to know that you are at the beach, it’s even better.”

It was Tuesday afternoon, or actually Wednesday. I don’t really remember the
days anymore. My only scheduled items are a few shifts at my part-time job and
the occasional social engagement. I had already done some writing, cleaning,
and reading that day, whatever day it was, so I decided to head to the beach
and call my friend. We talked for an hour or so as I told her about my recent
graduation and lack of plans for what’s next and she regaled me with her recent
dating stories. We hung up so she could finish her bike ride and get ready for
a date, and then I turned on some Billie Eilish and watched the clouds spin
through the sky.

There are few times in life when we are actually allowed to pause, but in
modern American society, we are terrible at taking the built-in break. We rush
to the next thing because we financially have to or because we were afraid that
if we stop, we’ll be behind. Leading up to my graduation, I knew that I wanted
to take some time off before launching into my new career, but even before I
got to this point, I was scared. I even applied to a few jobs out of fear that
I couldn’t let myself take a break, that I would do irreparable damage if I
stopped. When a job offer came, the screaming need to rest was louder, and I
turned it down.

Sitting on that beach though, listening to Bilie’s echoy
voice, I realized this time off had been the right decision. When we go through
transitions, whether is graduating or moving to another city or job or a big
break up, we owe it to ourselves to stand still for a minute. We need to absorb
the emotions and experiences we just had. We need to steady our breath and plant
our feet. We need to be proud of how far we’ve come and acknowledge the magic
ahead.

I understand that I am incredibly lucky to not have to get a
job right away. I am still working part-time to cover my rent, and I worked so
hard throughout graduate school that I have some savings to fall back on before
I am again a salaried employee. And because I have that privilege, I would be
silly not to use it. Also, I would be silly to not know that I am a better
person and more in tune with myself when I do slow down and reconnect to the
things that make me whole, like writing, nature, and good friends.

When the wind had picked up and the clouds had covered the
sun, I walked to my apartment, still enchanted by Billie. A usual five-minute
walk took me 15. Leaves swirled from branches to the ground and cool temps were
satisfying as ice water on a hot day. My legs moved so slowly to preserve the moment.
I smiled. Often, I think in order to enjoy these moments, everything needs to
be perfect, but here I was, loving every second with so many unknowns and hurdles
in front of me. It was as if I had stopped fighting life and allowing each uncertainty
to a painful prick. Rather, I gave into the swirls of the wind and clouds and
life.

And, it was calming.

Published by The Running Therapist

A runner, writer, and therapist in training.

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