It’s been so long since I’ve written that WordPress didn’t even recall my username, even though I distinctly remember ticking the “Remember Me” checkbox sometime last August. For shame.
I realized today is significant for me, and not simply because it’s Memorial Day. This time last year was when this whole blog began. It was when this whole journey began (or continued if you’d rather jumble this one into this whole big life journey thing . . .which I’m cool with). It was when I quit my job and took the leap into the great bill-paying-without-a-job-possibly-losing-your-apartment-and-having-to-move-in-with-your-parents-(who-you-love-but-don’t-want-to-live-with) abyss. In the game of life, I leveled up big time.
Today I went to a Memorial Day picnic, and driving home and approaching my exit, I had the sudden urge to just keep driving. The day was beautiful, the music on the radio was good, and I haven’t had the opportunity to take a nice drive in weeks. Oh do I love a good, long drive. So right past my exit I drove and out into the western parts of I-70 farther than I’d ever gone before (but then again, I’ve never even been to Dayton). And as with most of my long drives, it was a time to think, to remember, and of course, to sing as loudly as possible to the radio until you’re on the cusp of hoarseness.
I drove out a few more exits and got off at a random city (who knew there was a Mechanicsburg in Ohio?) in the middle of nowhere. Some people might have been a bit scared to wander around in farm country with dusk fast approaching, but honestly, when it comes to finding your way back home, Columbus is fairly hard to miss. Step 1: Find a highway. Step 2: Follow it until you see a sign for Columbus. It wasn’t that difficult. And I got to visit lovely historical Plain City, which really looks a lot like most small towns in Ohio and/or Indiana.
Ah, Indiana. It’s been three years since I’ve been back there, and six since I was last at Huntington University. I thought about who I used to be back then, and more importantly, how very different I am. Just past Plain City, and I hit 161 East and headed back through Dublin and into Columbus. It seems fitting that I should drive through Dublin and take the exact route I used to drive home from the Job-Which-Cannot-Be-Named on this specific day when I’m thinking about all that’s changed. Talking about it with my Mom earlier today I mentioned to her another of the million ways my current job is a much better fit for me, and as I’m telling her the story, I can feel my pulse quickening and hear my voice getting louder. A year later, and I’m still angry. And now it’s not just for what was done, but also with the fact that I haven’t let it go yet. It’s still there after all this time. It still has that power over me to ruin my mood and control my heart rate. Even in the writing of it now, my face flushes and my teeth grit. Limey bastards.
But the farther I drive from Dublin, the more I become myself again. And the best part about that, is that myself this year is a heck of a lot better than last. Even though I dug myself a good sized hole by quitting, I climbed back out of it, and I’m pretty proud of that. And I get to be happy now. Like in a pride-in-an-honest-days-work kind of way. And I get to continue living in this city that I love with a new roommate who I’m really thankful to have. And the only thing I ended up losing was a hell of a lot of emotional baggage and about three bucks an hour. In the grand scheme of things, I’ll take poor and happy any day.
By the time I got home it was dark. I walked in to be greeted by my two dogs, a bit sluggish because they convinced my roommate I didn’t feed them and managed to get double dinners. Basically, it was their best day ever. And today was probably one of mine. It was busy, but I got a lot done, and I ended it with family and friends feeling tired but accomplished, and more importantly, free. Finally free.