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Dear Friend,

I can’t believe it’s August already! It still hasn’t quite sunk in that this is the real deal. I was realizing today that I still haven’t fully accepted the reality that I am living in DC, as an adult, with a real job… I mean, obviously I know this to be true since I am living it every day, but I still don’t feel like anything has really changed.

I keep wondering what it will be that makes it all sink in. In some ways, I think I may be waiting for homesickness to kick in, to desperately want to be able to just text a friend that I made cupcakes and that I’m bringing them over, to feel overly upset that my mom and I are no longer doing weekly lunch dates, to feel lonely. But I haven’t gotten there, and while I’d like to think it will never come, it probably will. I think, perhaps, that part of this whole separation from reality thing is that I’ve done this before, several times. I’ve lived in my own apartment, I’ve explored the Middle East, and worked here in DC… but it’s never been for an extended period of time. It’s almost always been for a semester, and when those parts of my life came to an end, I’ve almost always wanted them to continue, or felt like I was just getting used to them…

Well, I’m getting to that point. It’s been three months since I packed up my stuff and somehow fit it into a 70 square-foot room in the middle of Washington, DC and began working at my first post-college job. So I am only now beginning to reach the point where I’ve been here longer on my own than I have spent away on other adventures. This means that everything from here on out is Uncharted Waters. Bring it on.

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo

P.S. And for your listening pleasure…