Monday, April 19, 2010

Whoever said April was the cruelest month never met June/July 2010...

This is a post I wrote back in April, for blogger Kristin Tennant, (@ktwrites on Twitter) who started the idea of a Love List on her blog a while back. She asked for interviews, and I agreed. This is the post I wrote. I thought I'd publish it now to inject some joie de vivre back into these pink walls.

Kristen: So, Sarah Louise, you're going through a lot of changes these days. New church, new career goals, new friends. How is your life different today than it was a year ago?

Sarah Louise: Well, Kristen, I'm so glad you asked. It is amazing how life can change in such a short time. Last year, this time, I was beginning to mourn the loss of my best friend Sally, who would be moving soon to Michigan (She moved last July.) I was still attending the Open Door Presbyterian Church, a church plant where I was a charter member, and I was seriously considering a Master's of Fine Art in Creative Writing. My life has changed in so many ways since then--instead of talking to Sally once a day, I talk to her once a week. I'm getting to know people at my new church, forming new relationships. Instead of dreaming about an MFA in writing, I'm getting ready to start the application process for a Ph.d in Library Science (with an emphasis in Children's Literature.) I'm excited about growing professionally.

Kristen: How is your life today different than say, ten years ago?

Sarah Louise: Ten years ago, I was 28, living in Northern Virginia, finishing up my stint as a bookseller at Big Box Books. My main focus every day was to make sure my departments were correctly shelved, alphabetized, and well displayed. My "baby" was the cookbook table, which I changed up daily, highlighting the big glossy cookbooks by celebrities and celebrity chefs. I lived with my parents, and I had a monthly subscription to Harper's, which I read, cover to cover. I facilitated a book group that met once a month. I had a wide range of single friends. We often went to lunch or the movies. And I ate dinner with my family almost every night. Writing all that, it sounds like heaven. I had time to read, time for friends, and time for family. But it was a life that had an end in sight--I wasn't moving forward professionally, so I applied and got in to library school, which meant a move back to Pittsburgh.

The past ten years have been really hard. Creating new relationships can be like pulling teeth in a town like Pittsburgh, where everyone knows everybody since before kindergarten. Families stay put, and it is not uncommon to meet people in their early twenties who are married and already starting their families. So, as a single woman in her early to mid to late thirties with no family nearby, I have been swimming against a very strong current. Even though I had lived in Pittsburgh twice before, moving back this time was one of the hardest things I've ever done, though I didn't know it at the time. Only now do I feel that I'm beginning to realize some of the benefits of that golden place where I resided ten years ago.

Kristen: What kinds of things have been showing up on your love list these days?

Sarah Louise: My new church. I've been going there for about two months. The people there have embraced me, and I just want to get to know them better. My new friends. I have been making lunch, dinner and coffee dates in an effort to repopulate my social life. So far, I don't have a movie buddy, but I'm working on it. The Pittsburgh Penguins. We're in playoff season, and I love the energy. All of a sudden, everyone is a hockey fan.

Kristen: Do you have any wisdom or advice to share with others?

Sarah Louise: It is never to late to dream a new dream.