Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station. This is part of our Young Voices Series for Girl Power: You Are Enough. We are always looking for more writing from YOU! Make sure you follow us on instagram at @GirlPowerYouAreEnough and on Facebook here.
By Alyssa Limperis
I said goodbye to one of my best friends from college today. He’s leaving NYC and moving west to go to Law School and be closer to his family. I feel sad. Maybe because I knew him when my dad was alive. Maybe because he’s one of the first people I go see when I have something to say. Maybe just because I want more late night, ice-cream-filled hangs. I’m sad to see him go. I’m sad that time keeps moving forward. After losing my dad, I want to hold tightly to everyone I love. I don’t want anyone to leave. Bryan represents my prior life. A life where I was scattered and free and waitressing and not quite sure where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. He represents a time when I was depressed and lost. More than half of our hangs have been me crying to him. I spent so much time with Bryan worried about the future. Upset about the present. Hanging on to something from the past. I spent a lot of time on my phone. A lot of time in my head. I found out he was leaving a week ago and time slowed down. I instantly wanted to spend every minute with him. Digest all of his advice. Appreciate the profound comfort of sharing each other’s company. When time suddenly became limited, I wanted to freeze it and not let it escape. I wanted to go back and relive all of our times together. I suddenly yearned for feeling lost and uncomfortable and unsure. I wanted to be back to the time when I was deeply depressed. I wanted to go back to working doubles at a restaurant and slumping on his stoop in exhaustion on my way home.
I’ve spent so much of my life not living it. Talking about living it, talking about how I’ve lived it, talking about how I wished I’d lived it, how others have lived it, how we should live it. I’ve spent much less time just living it. Just letting go and living. Turning off my phone, forgetting about everything else and just focusing on the absolutely enchanted, limited life we have. I want to change that. I want to start living. Because even when I remember the ugliest of times, I still wish I could go back. While I’m in them, I spend all of my time wishing I was somewhere else. I spent the year that my dad was dying wishing that I wasn’t in that situation. Wishing I could hop on a bike with my dad and get lost in the back-roads. Wishing there would be a day he’d walk me down the aisle and make a joke as he gave me away. Well now I wish I was back picking my dad’s limp body out of bed and helping him to the bathroom. I wish I was lying next to him while he was in a coma. I would take those days back if I could. I wish I could be back.
Seeing Bryan go, I wish I could be back in those sad, scary, early days of New York. Of free-falling. I miss those days. With my goodbye, I felt so frustrated with myself that I’d spent so much time wasted instead of just wasting time together. I’ve lived life with this idea that I wanted to get over one hump to start living. I would start living life once some event happened. Once some goal was accomplished. Once some wound was healed. But it’s all just life. It’s all here to be lived. When life gets dark and daunting, it’s still life. It’s not some distraction until the real life begins. It’s just life. And it’s gonna pass and it won’t be there anymore. There will be a day where time becomes limited for me. When a doctor gives me a bad diagnosis. When old age creeps in. When bad luck strikes. I don’t want that to be the time I start living. The time I start holding my friends close and putting my phone down. The time I start bathing in the comfort of love and friendship. I want that now. I want to be anxious and worried and unsure and to sit in it and appreciate it. To find the happiness in a sad day. To appreciate the laugh in a fit of anxiety. Because it’s all life. Life isn’t just the good stuff. In fact, saying goodbye to Bryan, I mostly remembered the bad stuff. The gritty, teary, trembly stuff. The stuff that I couldn’t wait to leave behind. The stuff that I wished would go away. That’s the stuff I remember. When I think of this past year with dad, I don’t think of the fun trip we took to Florida. I think of him being paralyzed on the back porch and taking 7 of his 30 words of the day to make me laugh. I think of taking out the trash with my brother after a particularly bad hospital day and it feeling like Disney World. I think of Bryan watching me bomb at an early open mic and laughing about how silent a packed room could be. The bad moments are still moments. The hard parts of life are still life. Wasted time is still time. I wanna be present for all the moments, live all of life and enjoy the wasted moments. I don’t wanna keep waiting to do that until I have to say goodbye.
Alyssa Limperis is 25 years old and moved to NYC after college to pursue stand up comedy. She can be found online at www.alyssalimperis.com.