Friday afternoon I found myself in a yin yoga class with Hilary.
Yin yoga is my favorite kind of yoga, mainly because I know I can do it. I know I can stretch and grow and leave feeling refreshed. Sometimes I go to these 1.5 hour hot yoga classes in Malibu, and all I can think is I’ll never be able to do this, I must give up yoga and probably everything else.
But yin yoga at noon at Pepperdine is one of my favorite things in the world.
Hilary smiles throughout the whole class. You should really try working out with that girl. Her eyes are closed, she’s in shavasana, and she’s got a big, broad grin across her whole face.
Hilary has many of the things I do not have. It’s what makes us good friends, my eagerness to soak some of it up.
After yoga I told Hilary I wanted fries. I saw an Instagram shot of fries and I needed fries and so to Duke’s we went because I know about their fries.
(And their nachos.)
(And their hula pies.)
We’ve been here nearly three years, Hilary and I. I got a notification that the blog I started in London–a very sad, very small, desperate thing of a blog–just turned four.
FOUR YEARS OLD! My London times are in preschool. They no longer just happened.
I remember moving here, fresh back from London and everything was London this and London that and it’s not anymore. I hardly mention it. It’s part of my history, and certainly not the most important part right now.
Not even close.
The boys Cait and I dated that first year we were here, the ones we gave nicknames and who were topics of conversation–they have grown older, grown out of their nicknames. The other day I found out one of them is expecting a child with his now wife.
I texted Cait.
She responded with a picture of a burrito.
Almost three years.
It’s enough to make a place a home, I think. Or it’s getting close.
I get sad, sometimes, about my life here. I have friends, and good ones. But not that many of them. And none who knew me before. These are all “new” friends, people who met me when London was fresh. People who have never met the boys who broke my heart or the friends and family who healed it.
My friends here feel so separate from the rest of my life, sometimes.
Rob has two friends from other areas of his life, a childhood friend and a college friend, who are both here in Southern California.
I envy that.
What I would do to have a childhood friend out here! A high school friend! My sole college friend! (Hi Laura!)
There are times when my life in California feels so separate from my life elsewhere. My life in Utah, I suppose.
All of my siblings are back in Utah now, did you know?
You wouldn’t know.
For a stretch there it was only 1/5 Denning children in the Beehive State, all of us spread out, doing our own thing, likely never to return, and then without warning everyone is coming back but me.
It’s enough to make a girl think. What am I doing here? How long will I be here? What do I want of my life?
I think these things anyway, but the prospect of all the people I love regularly gathering without me, I think them harder.
I have a life here. I’m no longer at the stage where I wonder when my real life will begin. I am living my real life, right now, this very moment, with the dregs of my cold tea and my California cherries and the four books I have open on my bed because nothing is really holding my attention reading-wise these days.
This is my life. A life of yin yoga and french fries, of sea salt and foggy skies.
I don’t want to ever leave Malibu.
I think this fairly regularly.
Every time I drive up the PCH, past the stilted houses and the dots of surfers and the overpriced restaurants–I feel the air come back into my lungs and I think, “How could I ever leave this?”
Malibu feels like home.
I have my places. A magazine stand, a burrito stop, my favorite scoop of ice cream.
Places take time.
So do people.
Rob reminds me of this when I’m feeling sad about being here. “Jill,” he says. “Your people in Utah have 15 years with you. It’s natural that it’s different here.”
It’s natural and it’s hard.
It’s my real life, right now, this very moment.