I’m at the stage of my life where the typical hype before any type of monumental life event fails to exist anymore. I hadn’t seen my very good friend Neil or Jason since… I cannot even remember. I had never been to the annual Southern Decadence celebrations in New Orleans ever. I had been feeling burnt out with work, friends, life and everything in between, so suddenly embarking on a new vacation with two of the only people who can read me like a book failed to phase me. What on Earth was going on?
When you get older in life, it seems like you automatically sign a contract with time to rush by faster than ever before. Back in my 20’s, a trip such as the one I took over Labor Day weekend would have been met with “butterflies in my stomach” tossing & turning with anticipation and excitement for at least 3 days prior. However, I didn’t even flinch a thought of the reality of this trip until I needed to secure: (1) a ride to and from the airport (I love you Nicolas) and (2) luggage to borrow since the handle on my carry-on decided to break (I love you Jocelyn).
Let’s just say this about celebrating my first Southern Decadence in New Orleans with Neil and Jason and Tanner… I could not have needed more of a gust of fresh, new air than what that weekend brought upon me. I smiled. I laughed. I laughed even more. I laughed until my stomach hurt. I laughed so much that I should have a six-pack. Neil has always been a constant source of amazement in my life, and Jason Moriarty… the same guy who I could viciously turn sour on at the drop of a hat, became someone that I hold dear in my heart. I never considered someone as a “best friend.” I’ve always been fortunate in life to have a plethora of “very close & good friends,” and Jason has definitely ascended to that category.
Neil lives in Chicago but works in St. Louis. Jason and Tanner live and work in NYC. Every Memorial Day, we made a pact to meet one another in Chicago. Every Labor Day, we made another pact to meet again in New Orleans. The thought of spending time with those two negates the first half of this post, because I will be holding a countdown in absolute excitement until my next weekend that I am able to spend with them.
Coming back from New Orleans could not have been more difficult. Every trip, I crave and obsess over coming back home… being back in my bed… being back in all that is familiar… returning to what has become my home. Something was completely different with this trip. I found myself dreading coming back home. Why was I still living in Tampa? Why did I continue making Tampa my home if returning home was nothing more but upset? These questions clouded my mind, and stayed with me for a good two days after landing.
What could’ve and should’ve homogenized into a full-blown month-long depression instead vanished after this past weekend…
I truly do have the best friends here in Tampa, and feel like I am FINALLY with others who are in the same, exact boat as me. I am 31-years-old and making the most out of every single breathing minute of life. Whether enjoying a spontaneous $100.00 steak dinner with friends on a Friday night, or getting obnoxiously intoxicated the next evening and suffering for it the entire next day… it is all worth it.
I love my friends as much I love life. As Tom Cruise told Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, they, my friends, “…complete me.”