Three-hundred fifty five days ago, I departed one life for another.
I left a woeful and slow spiral of being lost, a holding pattern with which I’d known I was unhappy for some time. After packing the car and a five-hour drive, I found myself back in Holly, Mich., after a year of life beyond college.
But almost immediately upon my return, I decided it was only temporary. Part of the reason I’d left in the first place was a need to find something new, to search for the beginnings of what would eventually be My Life. I didn’t find it then, and to be honest, I let the day-to-day needs of existence and a lot of insecurities and mistakes cloud my focus. Returning to Holly, my vision cleared.
But the need to find the true start of the path hadn’t diminished. I put it off, told myself it would be for a few months, and planned to save and plot and map as much of my course as I could manage.
Much of The Original Plan, what would become my first year As An Adult, I left up in the air or took up by necessity. When I left college, it was the need for a job. Joining the staff of a newspaper took me to a different town, working a shift that left me little time to spend with friends and family, who already were distant. The “need” to do something – after all, the next step of life is “find a job” – took me to places I didn’t really want to be. In fact, the job wasn’t one I really wanted to do. But that is what one does.
Moving to Chicago was the result of other people’s need. I figured I could blaze my trail starting in that city because it was, after all, Chicago. Just as good as any other place, I figured.
That didn’t prove true, and it wasn’t because of a lack of the place, but of a lack in myself. One can’t just drop himself into a city and expect life to show up at his door.
So in a way, I traded one staging area for another. I returned home planning to regroup and try again, with a better understanding of what I wanted out of life.
Three-hundred fifty five days later, I’m eight hours from liftoff.
And the feeling in the air, the atmosphere of the day, is one of incredible hope.
Of course, I’ve gotten the many skeptical eyebrow-raises among those who have heard anything about The New Plan. Even though I’m now 25(!), there are those who stare at me, ask for the details of The New Plan, and then frown with disapproval when it doesn’t include certain aspects deemed “necessary.” These include a Damn Good Reason for Going – which is, unfailingly, a high-paying yet demanding job.
The New Plan has no such motivation. There is no real “reason” for picking up everything we own, cramming it into a car, and traveling across the country at great personal expense.
Except that we can.
It hasn’t all been discouraging. I received a message from former Central Michigan Lifer Jessica Scott a week ago, reaffirming everything I already knew: That I can handle this, that it’s a great adventure, that traveling across the country and starting a life with Caitlin M. Foyt is not only possible but a great idea. It’s sort of stunning how hearing (or reading, as the case may be) something from a third party can help to solidify it.
Today has been spent packing up the unsold mass of junk that comprises my remaining belongings. I’m leaving a few relics behind, but as I’ve mentioned before – none of that stuff matters anymore. Most everything I own I’m only keeping around because of this horrible buyer’s remorse I’m saddled with – I’m acutely aware of the amount of money I dumped on stuff that doesn’t matter. And all of it is like digging ancient coins out of the Egyptian sands. Reminders of a life gone by, but which holds no intrinsic value of its own.
I want to be rid of all that baggage. I’m bringing very little of it with me. The idea of sullying the New Beginning with vestiges of the Old Life is almost a little bit revolting. It’s like boarding the elf ship to the North after defeating Sauron.
In six hours, we’ll load my Ford Escape(Pod) and drive off, literally, into the sunset.
One day ends to make way for another.