From There to Now: The Art of Leavetakings

Note: Scheduled posts seem to fail to post as expected sometimes. This was meant to go live 5 hours ago. I’ll fix that going forward.
The first goodbye, at age 18, was hard. I had lived in the same house for over a decade. I had formed and cultivated a number of concrete friendships in that time. Saying goodbye to those people and that place was painful, the first time.

Six years later, I had developed a fondness for wandering. By this time, the leavetaking was, for me, much easier. Repetition breeds comfort, but maybe in part,  because I do truly believe I will be back. In fact, during those emotional goodbyes, that’s usually my parting promise.

When you spend as much time on the road as I have, you begin to develop a different definition of ‘home.’ Home is no longer a physical concept, but rather an emotional and mental state of being. I have learned to distinguish residence from home: a residence might become a home, but home is not necessarily a residence. This isn’t a particularly revolutionary thought, but I make this distinction to then explain the following:

Long drives, road trips, and general geographic ramblings have become a home to me. I find peace when chasing the horizon. The world never feels more in place than behind the wheel of a car.

And that’s where this project last ended—midway into a cross-country road trip that spanned over multiple months with half a dozen states as destinations. A glorious, but maybe ill-advised collections of weeks before the reality of my circumstances crashed down around me. And crash they did, but that’s for  later.

For two months after, I found myself trying to juggle vacation and productivity, living on a friend’s couch in Michigan. While I treasured those two months with dear friends from whom I had been long estranged from, I know now that was a mistake, maybe not in its entirety but at least in part. What it was was a feeble last-ditched attempt to avoid the twenty-somethings cliché: graduating, finding no ready employment, and returning home to live with the parents.

Three months after graduating with a Master’s degree, I was, for the first time since I left at 18, living full-time under my parent’s roof. The past year since then has been wrought with disappointment as I have floundered about in an attempt to find my place in this world. I have spent the past year in self-defeating cycle fueled by failure to achieve expectations both set by myself and others.

I am 25 years old, with a Master’s degree, $80,000 in debt and living at my parent’s while working part-time in retail. Simply put, I am embarrassed.

But change is coming. In two weeks I will be moving, this time to Illinois. I am beginning a new chapter, this time with a wealth of mistakes under my belt to build upon. I am determined, more than ever, to reach a different conclusion. I simply refuse to allow the year of 2016 to go to waste.

I’ve titled this series From There to Now, which should be rather self-evident to the content I will be exploring. The intention remains to use this multi-week series as a springboard into other discussions as I attempt to recover aspirations lost over the years.

Let me know what you think because, as I’ve said before, life is a journey best taken together.

-Doug

 

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4 thoughts on “From There to Now: The Art of Leavetakings

  1. I’m semi happy to know, that I’m not the only one that feels like nothing went as planned. But you are the smartest, and one of the greatest people I know. You will do amazing things, It just may take longer than expected. Miss you.

  2. Hey there! I appreciate this post for a number of reasons. The first is the bit about the residence vs home. This is very real for me right now, as I flit from one place to another, prepping to go live in Dublin. The wanderlust is real! But what you’re talking about hits on more than that; it references the idea that you can feel truly at home in more than one place. The other thing I really like about this is the talk about self-expectations, which are hilarious little things we think up, then watch shatter. But it’s astonishing what is else is out there beyond our little ideas. I’m sure it’s all out there, just waiting for you to trip over it. Hope this is coherent! Caffeinated!

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