Guest Post by Nicole W.
I am a wuss, a scaredy cat, nervous jervous, to name just a few ways I’d describe myself. I am NO adrenaline junkie - often sending my boyfriend youtube clips of adventures gone wrong with subject lines like “Why I’ll never skydive” attaching the video of that granny who nearly slipped out of her harness, whew...
Never mind skydiving, I don’t even particularly like leaving my comfort zone. This proved all too true when I attempted to tackle the adolescent milestone of college-ing. Applying and getting accepted to Penn State was about the most exciting part of the whole process. Not Frat Parties nor Football Games. Nope. I didn’t stay there long enough to experience any of the typical collegiate rights of passage. After a six week Summer Session, wherein I drove home every weekend (sidenote: My dad sat me down for a conversation, informing me that "State College is not a Commutable distance"), my mom and older sister drove me back to (Not-So)Happy Valley for the start of the Fall Semester to help move me into my new dorm. An experience most kids look forward to from the day they receive their acceptance letter, and likely much before. I cried the whole 3+ hour car ride - I cried and cried and cried. I panicked. I freaked.
Penn State 1: Noodle: 0.
Two days later my dad and stepmom drove up and I re-packed to join them for the most relieving drive back to the comfort of Ardmore. Relieved, but embarrassed, defeated, deflated, insecure, and generally wondering why everyone else was so excited for this next step and I was less-than-ready. I enrolled in a local satellite branch of PSU where I wouldn’t lose the tuition money that had already been paid and the credits earned from my Summer Session. During this time, I lived at home with my mom. My.Premiere.Happy.Place.
While my friends were spending their weekends (and probably most weekdays too) boozing, my social calendar was filled with babysitting. My mom and I had a routine that worked, I still say she is the best roommate I ever had. I never wanted to leave my moms house, it was perfectly comfortable in all the right ways.
Finally, after about 3 years of kickin’ it with my mom, I moved out (mostly thanks to some necessary pushing by my Stepmom) all the way to Manayunk. A whopping 10 minute drive from home. This seemed doable - baby steps. I was able to gain some independence - yet I could still see my mom for dinner any night of the week, or pick an afternoon we were both free to grocery shop together. This blissful setup lasted just under two years.
The next step seemed like the most gigantic move I would ever make. I moved with my boyfriend at the time who was offered a role at his company’s San Francisco office. I mean, is there anyplace further from Philadelphia than San Francisco?! Oh yeah, Australia...but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The move to San Francisco was a weepy one. It was hard to see anything on the cross country drive through my tears. I was scared. Was I making a giant error? Would I ever see my mom again? Would I make new friends? Where would I live? Where would I work? Just a few concerns running rampant through my worrisome mind.
The answer to those questions are:
When I lived in the Marina neighborhood that Trish so divinely described a few weeks back, I rarely left the 10 block radius that got me down to Crissy Field, and over to the Presidio and up to the top of Cow Hollow, sometimes venturing as far up as Pac Heights....rarely.
I love the comfort of routine. While some crave a cocktail at the end of the week and letting their hair down on the dancefloor - I crave putting my hair up in a messy bun and curling up with my book and pot of ginger tea.
While my comfort zones have always kept me safe, I had to dip my toes in the water before I could dive in. I have no choice but to believe that everything happens in its right time. I wasn’t ready to move ALL those drivable hours to State College, and I knew that about myself. I trusted my instincts and felt genuinely to my core that it wasn’t the right time/place for me. But when presented with the opportunity to hop a 24 hour plane ride to Australia just a few years later, I dove in.
Now I live in Australia. I live in Australia. I live in Australia. I can retrace my steps that got me here, some of it may have been luck, but I’d like to believe I played a bit of a role in manifesting this destiny. To all you faithful Grateful Lifers, you understand when I say that I found the courage to say YES to this Australian adventure by channeling my inner-Trish.
My mom’s childrearing mantra has always been that she hoped to give us Roots + Wings. While my roots have been undeniably strong, it was the wings I was worried about. I never thought I’d spread these wings and fly - but I have, and it’s scary, but more than that, it’s pretty darn exciting. Am I gonna bungee jump? No probably not. But will I try grocery shopping in a new neighborhood? Sure.
Ta (Australian for Thanks),
ps - MEGA-thanks to Trish for allowing me the opportunity to share a bit of my story with her amazingly kind and devoted followers (that's you guys!). Also, If you're interested in checking out a bit of my Australian Adventures thus far: Noodle Down Under