The Real World Needs An Orientation

This weekend I watched a girl lick the guy I like while I sipped a Tequila soda. Then, as I boarded my plane back to LA, a friend informed me my ex-boyfriend slept with our college teammate the night after he and I made love for six hours three months ago.

Going East, always seems to bring difficulties. The first time I visited I lost my mother’s heel and walked the concrete jungle with one shoe the next day, the second time I slept with my ex and fantasized about living in the same city and wine tasting with him on Sundays. This time, I clogged my best friend’s toilet for two days and later learned Id rather eat feces off the Venice Boardwalk than ever see that ex again.

And now, I’m back in LA.

I didn’t expect to be back here so soon. Living in a city that doesn’t make sense, unenthused by the men around me and now equally indifferent to the men in other cities.  But that’s the tricky thing about expectations; they’re really just fantasies to pass time, and our biggest mistake is expecting too much from them.

In my mind I had planned the perfect Indian BYOB dinner with college friends. But, It didn’t happen, and although I might be disappointed, I can’t lose sight of those small mundane moments I never thought to fantasize about.

Before my weekend had a chance to unfold, I clogged my best friend’s only bathroom in her fourth Story walk up. The plunger we bought at the corner store only made the tile floor wetter, so we opened a bottle of cheap wine and made a makeshift tool with a hanger and dishrag.

After about an hour of this, we had missed dinner with friends, so instead, we sat on her twin bed, watched the snow fall, and learned our coasts weren’t much different, that we didn’t miss college, but wished this real world thing came with a guide book or at least a freshman orientation. We said all the things we didn’t in college, the encouragement, the criticisms, our realities. We shared so much in her tea-cup room overlooking a brick wall, not because we were once afraid to speak the truth, but because we didn’t realize we needed to.

And without realizing it we calmed each other. Making anything that happens seem okay, because now, more than ever, we understand we are never entirely alone.

Before my trip, I never fantasized about the time I would spend with my best friend. The mundane didn’t seem as fantastical when I lied awake at night, but that’s where I was wrong, because my time with her changed the way I take in the LA traffic or long work days, more than any kiss from a crush could.

Some things just can’t be planned, no matter how much we try to prepare. I’m guilty of fantasizing about Friday on Monday, falling asleep designing tomorrow’s outfit and constantly centering my Sundays around getting my car washed.

But, there has been bird diarrhea on my car’s passenger side mirror for over three months — hopefully next Sunday it won’t be there, but if it is, that’s okay. Things come up — work, the Olympics, friends’ bad days.

Rather than looking back with regret, or frustration over what didn’t happen we need to embrace the clogged toilets and lost heels. Embrace not getting what we want, but recognize we might be getting what we need.

Sometimes it’s cloudy when the sunsets, and sometimes that meeting we spent hours dreading, is the most inspiring of our week.

We need to learn to let go of plans as quickly as we create them, never becoming too obsessed with one idea, because there is always a better one. I didn’t get my car washed last Sunday, but I did make two benches to watch the California sunset from my porch.  After three months of holding on to something long gone, I found out my ex had sex within 12 hours of holding me tight and kissing my forehead, but somehow, I’m okay with that. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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