The gentle breeze, the streetlights illuminating my walk home at twilight, the eternal silence throughout the streets. I am grounded. I can think for what feels like the first time in years. I spent so much time feeling like I was drowning. Drowning in work, drowning in expectations, drowning in my relationships. And now, walking home at 2 am, I feel hopeful.
And it’s hard to feel hopeful when everyone around you is so different from you. When you hate where you live, it makes getting out and doing anything nearly impossible. And I try not to dwell on it, I’ll hopefully be able to get out of here once I get serious about my writing and finish this book or get a real job, but it gets hard. I sit at home most days wasting time and daydreaming. Writing feels like climbing a mountain sometimes. I sit by my computer with an empty Word document open with no clue where to go with it. Much to hard on myself and not enough coffee sends me spiraling.
But at 2 am, these problems feel a world away. All that matters now is getting home. I guess one upside to living here is I never feel nervous on these night walks. I can walk home and just worry about what’s in my head. And then I start to wonder which I’d prefer: safe streets or safe thoughts.
But the stars were always my favorite part of these night walks. The stars kept me hopeful. People say thinking of how small we are in the universe makes them feel insignificant. It makes me feel empowered. Because if the world really is that small and insignificant, why worry? I’ve spent so much time anxious about these little problems that don’t matter, and if there are aliens out there somewhere, they probably have more important things to worry about.
And I worry so much. I spend so much of my time worrying, looking at the stars is therapeutic. And on clear nights, when every star is visible, I can breathe again. Breathing felt impossible for a while. For a good portion of last year, life felt like treading water in the middle of the Atlantic with no clue when I’ll be rescued. And just because I live by the ocean doesn’t mean I know how to swim. When you’re out there all alone for so long, it gets hard to see when things will start to look up again. But then it’s summer and you’re walking home at twilight after a laughter-filled night with close friends and you don’t feel like you’re treading water, and you don’t feel like you’re climbing a mountain. You feel like you’re floating.