Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding (among other things)

On the way to the church

Oh what a whirl of wind. That's the best way I can think to describe the last few weeks-weeks that contained in them all of the following-viewings and reviews for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Merchant of Venice, and Wicked, a furious race to finish my copy for the November Belle (which is by far my favorite work I've done so far for the magazine because it includes not only a page devoted to running but a how-to-guide for oyster roasts, since I don't live in Charleston anymore there was some wonderful vicarious pleasure in  writing about salty oysters cracked open on chilly nights, the quintessential fall Charleston experience). I've ran 9 miles in preparation for the November half-marathon, the farthest I've ever run in my life. If you would have told two years ago that I would one day be able to run 9 miles I would have assumed the only way that could happen is if a rabid bobcat got loose on the streets of Richmond. And yet here I am, hopelessly and completely addicted to running, a sport I used to look at with nothing but wide-eyed astonishment over the fact that so many otherwise sane people would do that to themselves. 

I've given more baths and changed more beds (with people in them!). I've taken vitals on real people, not just mannequins or my classmates. I've done blood glucoses and charted in a real hospital computer system. 

I've streaked and poured and spread plates in Microbiology and wrote out a nursing care plan for the late Captain Phil from Deadliest Catch (and yes we got to watch snippets from Deadliest Catch in class and it was wonderful). I went apple picking (for the first time, how have I never done that before? I literally plucked an apple off of a tree and ate it, thanks nature for being so delicious and crisp). I went to a vineyard outside of Charlottesville (Now this, really, how have I never done? Wine is one of my favorite things in life and there are vineyards an hour away and I had never before gone to one-this is insanity my friends). I sat in the warm sun with a cheese plate, a bottle of local sparkling wine, and some lovely company and watched the absurdly beautiful Charlottesville scenery (darn me and my coastal inclinations, I really missed out on mountain life growing up). I climbed Crab Tree Falls (well half way up at least) and managed to make it down in the dark without dying. 

I signed a lease on an apartment! After two years of squatting in my parent's house and reaping the benefits of free rent and utilities, I'm journeying back into the world of apartment living-tiny kitchen and all. Luckily I'm only moving about 12 blocks from where I live now, so I will be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of free, home cooked meals, and a convenient washer/dryer that are not coin operated. 

And a little more than a week ago I watched my best friend since I was six get married. I can not think of a more surreal experience than watching her come down the aisle in her gorgeous dress, instantly flashing back to a million memories growing up together. The wedding was perfect. I made the wise (if not financially sound) decision to get hair and makeup done professionally, and while it may have cost extra it was a lovely experience to have professionals do all that for me while I sipped pomegranate mimosas and ate from platters of Chik-fil-A.

Getting ready

We danced, we ate, we drank. We took over half of Lemaire after the reception and opened our own, smuggled in bottles of sparkling wine until they very nicely informed us that shockingly, one of the nicest restaurants in Richmond is not BYOB. We took pictures in front of the Lee Monument and amused passers by as all 18 of us (bride and groom + wedding party) jumped up in down in formal wear. 

I gave a toast at the rehearsal dinner in front of 100+ people and managed not to a) pass out from nerves or b) get embarrassingly drunk from nerves. I only got a little bit weepy.

Rehearsal dinner with fellow bridesmaids, and two of my other best friends in the world

It's strange how firmly change becomes a part of life when you're in your 20s. Most of us spend 18 years in one place. And even our college years are only a slight shift. We still come home for breaks and feel like kids (or at least I did). But then your mid 20's hit and every few months there's something new, someone getting married, someone having a baby, someone moving away. There's new jobs, new careers. I think back on all that's happened in the last 4 years and it's incredible to me. I went from barista clinging on to my college life to English teacher in Thailand to unemployed writer to nanny to unemployed writer to nursing student/employed writer (and runner, still can't really get over that). 

I guess it hit me, maybe more powerfully than it ever has, as I watched my best friend get married, this girl I've known through dolls and braces and N'Sync and going away to college, that holy crap, we're adults. I'm an adult. And it's a very weird mix of emotions. It's been such a happy and beautiful experience and I'm so proud of and happy for my friend, but I've also had a couple of moments since the wedding where I've been hit by this wave of grief for the past and all of the silly, immature, kid moments contained within it. The thing about change is that it is absolutely necessary for us to thrive and grow and become who we're supposed to be, and we get used to its frequency, but I think even the best changes are always a little bit sad. It's that tiny bubble that wells up in you're chest, when you know the future is so bright and new and good, but you can't help but look back over your shoulder at what you're leaving behind. 

I guess the thing about change is that it wouldn't mean anything at all if it was easy. The only change worth having in life is the kind that is simultaneously beautiful and a little bit sad. 

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