Sometimes, after I share a bit of my story at an AA meeting, I leave feeling vulnerable and raw. While I know it’s good for me to talk, it’s uncomfortable for this introvert. And feeling uncomfortable makes me want to pop in to a tavern on the way home and order a pint of Mac and Jack’s and nachos. I may or may not have done that a time or three…
Today I did something different. I wanted comfort food but decided to make myself feel better by visiting one of my favorite areas of the city instead. It’s a neighborhood that I lived in during a very formative period in my twenties. I LOVED that neighborhood. For a social drinker, it’s a dream. Handfuls of restaurants and bars were within walking distance of my apartment. The main drag buzzed with energy at night and beckoned to twenty-somethings like me: come play…I promise the hangover will be so worth it…And it usually was. My favorite places rarely disappointed.
Walking down the main drag today, I realized how much has changed. What was once an old brothel converted into a pizza place with red velvet curtains is now a chic, stark café. Where there used to be an empty, grassy lot, there’s now a swanky French bistro with fireplaces and outdoor seating. And my favorite wine bar closed shop and is now being renovated at the hands of eager new owners.
I could feel the winds of change blowing today- both for myself and for this beloved neighborhood- and the wisdom of Sarah Hepola came to mind:
“Change is not a bolt of lightning that arrives with a zap. It is a bridge built brick by brick, every day, with sweat and humility and slips. It is hard work, and slow work, but it can be thrilling to watch it take shape.”
So I will be patient and take one day at a time, knowing that personal change happens on its own accord- just as my old neighborhood will take new shape slowly and steadily at the hands of new builders. And I’ll be there to toast both with a Shirley Temple and nachos (extra cheese).