Before the Goodbye

Tonight was my last day of work for the next three and a half months. It was a minute four-hour shift, but it was still my last. My last time closing: recovering the entire cotton panty bar, holding my breath while taking out the trash, perfecting the visuals…crazy, right? It feels like just a few weeks ago that I was working my first processing shift at 6 am.

Even more crazy, I am about to drive my little Phillip home to Burbank for two and a half weeks. And then after that? I am off on a ten-hour flight to London, England. Can you believe this day is happening so soon? I certainly can’t.

But this last week in my lovely San Luis Obispo has been one that I will cherish. I truly could not have asked for a better past few days. From hiking to exploring to beachin’…a whirlwind of fun and cute Instagram-worthy photos. The scenery and my wonderful friends have made for such a great send-off, and I am unbelievably thankful for them. I cannot wait to get back and take on the rest of our third year together.

I had a rough few hours this morning. I was packing up my old apartment, prepping to pack it all into my car. I don’t know what it was, but it just put me in this weirdly sour mood. Definitely not what I wanted after having so much fun the few days before (minus a trip to the ER–long story short: Tori scared us with some weird stomach pain). I actually snapped at Tori and Kristin. I am mad at myself for letting Old Me take advantage of that brief bad mood and taking it out on two of my best friends.

I was literally on the verge of tears. We were supposed to go to the beach with two of our friends, but I was ready to give up that afternoon for a lonely few hours wrapped up in a blanket and my Bad Thoughts. K and Tori noticed, but they didn’t say anything. To be honest, I wouldn’t know how to respond without crying a little. Or a lot. They did not deserve that little snippet of Old Me, so I sucked it up and got into Isaac’s car. We headed out for Avila. It only took minutes for that bad mood to ooze away. I was laughing with my friends like the morning had never happened. Not only was I smiling for real, but I got in the water at the beach! I went almost up to my shoulders (but I did not want to have to wash my hair before work, so I kept it at that). I was not worried about what I looked like. Nobody was worried about that.

We went for a round of spikeball, which I stayed as a spectator since there were five of us to a four-person game. I got some great action shots and played commentator. I may have had work in about two hours, but I felt like I didn’t have a care in the world–like the only thing I was meant to do was be there, in that moment.

I kind of forget that I don’t have to be thinking about the past or the future. Or even other things happening in the present. All I need to be with is the people right around me and the conversation aurrounding tacos and margaritas.

So I got a great parking spot at work. So I got off work right on time, surprising my roommates and friends. So I had to “play catch-up” and get my margarita game going.

I was happy. I was blissful even. You know what? I even told someone about my eating disorder and he didn’t bat and eye or treat me differently. I told you: crazy, right? Really, I think that drunk me should not socialize much because things like this might happen, but the world didn’t end. It kept spinning like nothing had happened.

The fact that, other than this morning, I completely forgot that Pre-Recovery Me existed is probably the most terrific thing that could possibly happen to me. Especially right before I embark on my journey across the pond. It makes me so hopeful that studying abroad will bring great experiences and fabulous memories. Unforgettable ones.

This was my first goodbye. To SLO, my home the last two years and the place where life has taken on a new meaning to me. To my friends, the people who have made this happiness real. And to summer, what a turn it has taken in the last month.

Thankful for my co-workers, my roommates, my friends, my home…so, so thankful.

-Ash

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