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.