If this year has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t possibly predict how you’re life is going to go, even if you think you have it all figured out, even if you think your future is almost boringly clear. Things won’t always go, start, or end up how you expected.
There are very few times my old life overlaps with my new life. But when it happens, it’s pretty surreal, and often quite eye-opening. As I mentioned before, Mike and I dine out a LOT. Because food was not at all a part of my previous relationship, for the most part, we NEVER go to a restaurant where I’d previously been with my ex-husband. But I remember when it first happened quite clearly…
Two months into our relationship, we pulled up to All’acqua — a new-ish Italian restaurant in Atwater Village. I suddenly realized gasp I know this building! This used to be an Acapulco. This used to be the Acapulco where my Aaron and I would sit at the bar and drink celebratory slushy margaritas, after filing our taxes just down the street. It was one of the very few traditions we had.
My eyes widened as I stepped out of the car at the valet. Mike immediately realized I was having some sort of reaction, and asked if I was okay. So I awkwardly confessed what used to go down in this spot. He laughed, also caught a bit by surprise, and said, “Well, welcome to the new style.” Then, after a beat, he smiled and added “How’s that for symbolism?”
Yeah, no shit.
And that quote, “welcome to the new style” would repeat in my mind over and over this year. Including just the other day, as I ate my first meal of the new year at the place that used to be my old favorite. Damiano’s — the dark, dingy, punk rock-y dive that served pizza-by-the-slice that was a HUGE part of my college and early married life — became Jon & Vinny’s — the lightest, cleanest, hipstery-est, Italian joint that proudly boasts “no slices” on the backs of all the bearded kitchen staff’s t-shirts.
And I LOOOOVED Damiano’s. Like, I remember being furious to hear that it had been closed down and now some new jerk-restaurant was going to take it’s place and make their own jerk-pizzas in the charred ashes of the corpse of my favorite pizza joint. And yet… that new jerk-restaurant is one of my favorite places to eat of all time. I love that jerk-restaurant just as much as I loved Damiano’s… just differently.
Welcome to the new style, indeed.
New apartment designs. New relationships. New restaurants. New routines. New life. New year. And soon-to-be new home!
Yeah… so… remember in the beginning of 2015 when I was trying my hardest to buy a house? And then that one house went off the market, and then I got out-bid on that other house, and then my husband left me, and then my car got broken into, and then my income got cut? And it was the worst time of my life.
Then remember when I got the worst advice ever from that mysterious “friend”? The advice that went something like “your life is going to suck for a while, so ratchet down your expectations and accept it.” The person who gave me that advice would go on to become my boyfriend a couple months later, and he would absolutely change the course of my life in the best way possible. In ways that I still can’t believe are real. In ways that early 2015 Megan would accuse late 2015 Megan of being absolutely cray-cray pants.
But, from that point on, I would ratchet down my expectations. I would live my life as it was playing out instead of trying to live in the past, and fighting and raging and despairing. I would purge my apartment of all the shit I didn’t need, I would throw a re-boot party, I would grieve, I would thrive, I would travel a lot, I would officially get divorced. I planned to re-build my life to the point where I could once again return to my goal of buying a home and moving out of my apartment.
After all that, it turns out that I will be moving out of my apartment and into a house! Only… not-so-much in the way that I expected or planned. I’m going to be moving in with Mike, who happens to own his own home.
Okay, so you probably notice that it’s not exactly the goal I wanted to accomplish for myself. And yes, I have a lot of struggles, sadness, and sleepless nights over this. Part of me feels like a failure. Part of me feels like I didn’t “earn” this new living situation. Part of me feels like old Megan would rage — Damiano’s closing-style — at this change of plans. But… it’s a wonderful home in my favorite neighborhood where I’ll be living with my favorite person. It’s not a bad outcome at all! It’s just a different outcome than I was expecting.
So, welcome to the new year and the new style. It may be wildly different than the old-familiar, but I’m loving it. And I can’t wait to see all the new ways my life will be re-shaped by this new year, this new home, and this new step in our relationship.