Sunday, July 06, 2003

Independent Thoughts

Independant Thoughts

I had a pretty enjoyable holiday weekend. Despite how "un-patriotic" I can be, I usually have a pretty good time on Independence Day. I mean, sure, I've lost all faith in in our government; the health care system is broken, the judicial system is broken, the educational system is broken, blah blah blah...

but that doesn't mean I don't like a good excuse to lay off work and eat good food.

My room mates, Ron and Dinan, went out of town this weekend, leaving me with the house all to myself for the first time ever. I had Friday to myself, and then Saturday Tony, Andrew and Winn ended up visiting. Carly and Coz invited me to a cook out on the 4th, and the Nashville guys invited me to a cookout on the 5th, but I stayed in, cleaning the house and quite happily going through a lot of my old books. Since I quit eating red meat a few years ago, cook outs are always a little awkward for me. Do you insult the guest by bringing your own chicken or veggie burgers? Or do you manage to fake your way through on a bun full of lettuce?

It was good to see Tony, Andrew, and Winn, and even better to convince them that they can use my house as an Atlanta landing pad whenever they need too. I'm building my reputation as a host. I want people to be comfortable visiting me, sleeping here, eating my food. I'm working on it. I'm nearly there.

The fourth made me miss Aral terribly. I haven't seen her in nearly a year, and last fourth was so much fun, getting drunk on our roof in Allston and watching the big show. Happily, she called Sunday and we talked out some of the details of her visit next month. The big party is approaching, and everyone is looking forward to seeing her. I can't wait.

And while we were on the phone, she said this to me:

"Wow. You've really made a lot of good decisions in the past year, you know?"

I and was all like, you've got to be kidding me. If there was ever a six month stretch of my life where I could go back and make some different choices, it would be January-June of 2003. I would have never bought the Toyota. I would have taken the NEH grant job the first time it was offered. I wouldn't have tried to make that turn from the no-turn lane. There's a couple of phone calls to cute boys I wouldn't have made or answered.

But Aral was like, "No, you've really made a lot of the right choices in the past year. Look at where you are now!"

"It was really, really hard" I said.

"But you did the right thing. It gives me hope."

I give Aral hope? She's one of the most amazing people I know!

And she made me realize that for all the mistakes I've made in the past year, I have made a ton of really good but difficult decisions. I told people I loved them when I needed too. I left Boston. I lived with my cousins, I learned about my family, and made some judgment calls there that are permanent but that I'm glad I made. Everyone who knows me keeps telling me how good it was that I quit the job from hell despite all the money I was making. I've made some tough choices in the last year, but everything has turned out A-ok. And when I look at where I was just eight months ago, that's pretty amazing.

Hooray for Aral. Hooray for Independance Day, and I don't care if it's conceit, hooray for me.

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