This is the most comfortable I’ve been in a week and a half. As I write this, I’m cuddled up in a sleeping bag on my very own bed in my very own bedroom in my summer sublet. I ate real food for dinner (well, almost real; it was still just a frozen pizza), instead of cereal or Bread Company. I only had a 30 minute commute to work. My windows are open because outside, it’s a breezy 62 degrees.
I wish I could show you pictures of my sublet. I left my camera in Knoxville so Greg could post furniture pictures on Craigslist, but after my walk around the neighborhood, I’m regretting it. I’m living on the second floor of an old three-story house with a creaky, windy staircase and an abundance of nooks. The inside is completely renovated, with shiny hardwood flooring and doors, granite counter tops, and marble floors in the bathroom. Outside, there’s a big porch with white molding and American flag bunting hanging from the second-story balcony. Blue hydrangeas are in full bloom out front.
But the neighborhood is a little gritty, too, which is endearing to me. My floor’s balcony overlooks an auto repair shop painted neon yellow. Neighboring gardens tend to go left unnoticed, and instead of dying they creep their way out into the sidewalks and onto fencing. There are two corner shops on either side of the street that boast an assortment of prepackaged snack cakes. The whole place reminds me of a beachier-looking Tower Grove, right down to its name – Jamaica Plain.
Probably the best part of my sublet is my roommates. C, who I met last night, also just moved to Boston and coincidentally went to school at Wash U in St. Louis. She works for an organization that buys and sells fair trade coffee and has already offered me an endless supply of free freshly-ground coffee (new BFF). J, who I met a few hours ago, lives above us but shares our kitchen. She works at a hospital here and has already mocked Southern culture. Sometimes, I don’t like living with roommates. Even if you absolutely love them, they can do things that grate against your entire being and the way you were raised. Maybe they leave dirty dishes in the sink, instead of on the counter the way you do. Or maybe they don’t recycle. Or maybe they sit in the living room all day while Jersey Shore blares in the background.*
But if I had stayed at my friend’s house or at an extended stay hotel, I wouldn’t have met anyone interesting, much less two potential friends. C already invited me to watch 4th of July fireworks at the Arnold Arboretum with her. Normally, I would have felt like she was asking me because she felt obligated to, or because she felt sorry for me. She already has friends in Boston and maybe doesn’t need any more. But I think she did it because she recognized that we might get along well and there’s no such thing as too many friends. And even if she did ask me because she felt obligated to, I’m in no position to decline. “Sorry, I’ll be too busy re-watching every episode of Say Yes to the Dress.” “Sorry, even though I have a four day weekend I think I’ll go to bed at 7 p.m.” “I’d love to, but I’d really rather stare at pictures of all my old friends and think about how much I miss them.” Even though it might be awkward to go, and even though all of the above are scenarios that have happened before, I’m still going to go. Because like the discoveries I made when I went on my terrifying public transportation adventure, if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone, you might never do it. If you don’t decide to do it now, you’ll come up with a constant excuse for avoiding the things that make you feel a tiny bit uncomfortable. And if you keep avoiding it, you’ll also avoid other, way more uncomfortable things. I introduced C to Meetup.com after having fun at my initial event on Sunday, but I confessed that I was still way too nervous to go to a Meetup at a bar or restaurant by myself. We already have tentative plans to attend one together, because life’s a lot less scary when you have a safety net for those truly scary moments.
*These are all just examples and don’t reflect my opinions on any past or current roommates.