Five years ago, I moved to this City in search of a career, love, laughter and a new beginning. I was a small-town girl lost in a big city, not knowing a soul. I moved away from Pittsburgh to escape my damaged past. My first year here, I lived on 16th and Spruce in a crappy two bedroom apartment with a guy who has now become one of my closest friends. I worked at a government agency, putting in over 50 hours each week, making a measly salary. I couldn’t even afford health insurance because I needed the money to pay for my rent. In the first couple months, I found myself wrapped up in a circle of girlfriends who enjoyed happy hours, shots, wine, and Saturday night-all nighters just as much as I did. We organized a weekly happy hour at different bars in the city and hung out nearly every weekend downtown or in Manayunk. I spent money I didn’t have because the most important thing I wanted was an experience. I wanted to create my own Sex and the City memories.
My roommate introduced me to the Philadelphia Sport and Social Club, where I found myself joining a co-ed soccer team. Shortly after that, a [now] ex-boyfriend introduced me to the wonderful world of dek hockey. I fell in love, and the rest is history.
In the five years I’ve lived in the City of Brotherly Love, I’ve lived in Rittenhouse, Northern Liberties, Chinatown, and the Graduate Hospital area. I’ve tested the waters in the government field, legal recruitment, human resources, and as a paralegal. I’ve discovered a strong love and passion for dek hockey and soccer. I sabatoged friendships with that circle of girls I had when I first moved here, but have gained invaluable friendships with other girl friends who truly mean the world to me. I’ve switched careers and became an entrepreneur, co-founding my own nonprofit organization. I’ve tested the waters of dating in a big city (not as glamorous as they say it is), had a relationship with a man who couldn’t commit, dated casually, dated seriously, and have gotten my heart broken on more than one occasion.
I’ve built a history in this city and I didn’t even realize it until tonight. We get so caught up in our lives that we often forget about the foundation that we build for ourselves. Friendships. Careers. Relationships. Memories. Inside jokes. These are the things that truly enrich our every day lives.
I had a conversation last night with a friend about my impending move to Prague as we drove home from our hockey game. Asking me when I’m leaving, when I’m returning, what my plans are, where I’m staying. Of course, these were things he already knew, but sometimes we just have to hear certain details repeatedly in order to believe them. And then he said it.
“I’ll miss you.”
It caught me off guard. Not because I didn’t believe him, but because I didn’t realize the kind of impact he has on me. Or I have on him. So many people throw the word “friendship” around without truly understanding the meaning of it. We say so many things to so many people on any given day, but how much of what we say do we actually understand? I lost a best friend in 2010, but truly believe I’ve gained an even better one over the last four months.
I could have replied with my usual sarcastic and witty comment to lighten the mood (’cause you know, I hate emotions), but instead I just said, “I’ll miss you too.” And for the first time in a long time, I truly meant it.
Jim Elliot said:
“Wherever you are, be all there.”
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
“Wherever you go, leave your mark.”
We only have this one life to be amazing. To build incredible friendships with people who have the ability to change our lives. To build a life, and maybe a family, with someone. To follow our heart, make our dreams come true, and live passionately. We only get one chance to leave a mark.
I moved to Philadelphia in search of a career, love, laughter and a new beginning, but instead I’ve left a mark, and it’s truly a beautiful thing.