The Two Missing Ingredients
In my mind, I’d like to think that I’m bbfls with Abbi and Ilana, the best friend duo from the popular comedy show, Broad City…but I’m not (despite the fact that I’ve watched every episode, at least two times since February). In fact, I will likely never ever meet these perfect women and even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to hold anything remotely close to a conversation since I’d be unable to form words because I’d be fan-girling so. freaking. hard.
About a week ago, I met the author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, the book that sparked 4 Months X 4 Cities. Sitting at coffee shop in the Haight (where a fancy piece of toast will cost you $4…but it’s really good toast), we chatted about the book, his recent TED Talk, and my journey thus far.
At one point during our convo, he asked me what my biggest fear was at the moment. I thought for a few seconds and couldn’t come up with an honest answer other than: nothing. I am really not afraid of much, at least in the context of 4 Months X 4 Cities. I see these four months as a temporary period of exploration in my life. Something that will be over soon and will hopefully inform my life decisions in the near future.
However, there are downsides to what I’m doing. It’s not all wanderlust and cute coffee shops (though there have been a bunch of cute coffee shops). Ever since I left New York — where I was surrounded by a bunch of my closest friends and could have the occasional slumbie or sweat my brains out at cycling class with a great pal by my side — I’ve had a lot of lonely days, and sometimes weeks.
MISSING INGREDIENT #1: COMMUNITY
Though I find it refreshing to have a deep conversation with an Uber driver or barista, it doesn’t fill the void that an absent community creates. I’ve found myself calling my parents, sisters, and friends more frequently than I ever have before. I’ve always prided myself in being someone who can have fun doing things on my own, but doing things on your own every day for weeks can get old.
For me, part of 4 Months X 4 Cities is connecting to people and creating relationships, and even though I consider myself friendly and outgoing, I didn’t consider how crucial consistency was when forging honest relationships. When you have coffee with an amazing individual who you have no trouble connecting to and have totally deep conversations with, you can’t just leave it at that. Relationships are created over time.
At the moment, I’m really missing those relationships — the ones that have lasted through immature fights and continue to support me unconditionally. Those take time and aren’t so easy to come by.
MISSING INGREDIENT #2: ROUTINE
I also miss routine. Knowing that on Sunday, I’ll wake up around 9am and head to the DuPont farmers market three blocks from my apartment and grab some produce and breakfast tacos before heading to a workout class or rollerblading to the monuments.
There is true and beautiful comfort in routine, which is something that I haven’t been able to prioritize as I’m hyper-focused on creating my daily schedule from scratch and often overly concerned with making the most of these four months.
Recently, these lacking ingredients started to weigh on me. I doubted myself and whether the next 1.5 months would be worth it. But, after a weekend of hanging with old friends in the area, finding a baller new workout studio, and meeting with one of my 4 Months X 4 Cities idols, I feel like I’ve got my shit together again.
A few months from now, routine will be inevitable and once I stop moving around, I can focus on growing my community — wherever it ends up being.
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
— Kurt Vonnegut
This post is part of a series documenting a personal journey I created for myself starting February 1, 2015. The journey took me from New York City, to Austin, TX, to San Francisco, and ended in Chicago, where I lived in each city for exactly one month. I’m reposting all the 4 Months X 4 Cities stories — this one was originally published on April 20, 2015.