As I sat with girlfriends last night, getting manicures by a couple women who stepped directly out of 1986, it hit me that I am absolutely content right now. It's as if some sort of invisible load has been lifted off my shoulders, and now I can relax and enjoy the life I've created for myself. It took a while to build this life. I've been in Madison a year-and-a-half already, but it took me until recently to really find a niche. I've folded myself comfortably into that niche, having made friends in this city whom I wouldn't replace for anything. Good people, real people. Similar interests, honest relationships. I don't feel alone - ever - even if I'm on the couch by myself, surrounded by cats. They are palpable friendships.

I have a real apartment now, which I've discussed time and time again on this blog. The doors! And rooms! It's all so fun and silly, but it's real. Finally it's a home that I can walk into comfortably, without the tension that came with stepping into a studio apartment, where nothing quite fits, and the space is confining. Now I can breathe.

There are places in this city that have become regular spots. A grocery store, a coffee shop. My running routes and favorite bars.

I met someone who's my equal. We laugh. He makes me laugh. It's fresh, and we're tip-toeing through intricacies of relationship newness. I like it.

The latter half of my twenties has been full of inconsistency and change. Some for good, some the result of bad. But all a step toward the positive. I'm finally at a place where I don't ask myself every day, "What if?" Or "What happens when?" Or "What do I do now?" Or "Who can I turn to?" It's now, "What's next?" And I have so many pepole to share it with.