The Second First Night.

Well, here I am again. The first night in my new house. It feels like I just did this, quite possibly because it’s been just over a year since I actually did.

But this time is different.

I want to preface with a disclosure on how darn tired I am. I have done a lot of things in my 28 years – worked multiple jobs, played multiple tennis matches in a day during tournaments, campaigned in the summer heat, but construction work is the hardest. My shoulders hurt from the paint rollers, I don’t smell anything but chemicals anymore, and my knees just ache from trying to keep living through it all. I’ve painted, caulked, cleaned, hauled, smashed, scrubbed, flung, mowed, trimmed…you name it. And I’m just tired.

But it really is different this time.

This time I can throw the boxes away, I can hang the pictures, and I can paint the walls. I’ve picked a place to put down roots, and I have all the choices in the world to make it mine. Sometimes too many choices, but choices nevertheless.

It hasn’t been an easy transition and I certainly have a whole blog’s worth on ‘The Home’ by itself, but the scattered boxes and the cluttered freshness of new paint and new floors have me about as excited as one person can be after 26 trips to Lowe’s.

Last fall, not long after moving here, I wrote about “The Ownership.” I talked about wanting to own my own land, to acquire something tangible – and that’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. I wrote:

What is it about owning something that feels so good? You can’t touch stocks and you can’t feel bonds – unless they’re crashing. You can feel the heck out of that. Your money sits in a bank, but on any given day, it could be gone. You can touch land. You can stand on it. You can do something with it. It isn’t going anywhere. It’s yours.

After almost a dozen moves in rentals, I was tired of it. I was tired of living amongst other people’s stuff, living at their mercy, and hoping my rent wouldn’t be hiked…again. This time last year, I wasn’t sure where I wanted it, or how I would get there, but I knew exactly what I was looking for. So I found it.

Today I moved in. Just 45 minutes after the finished the floors, the movers were backing the truck up to my front porch to dump all of my junk in rooms not corresponding to the labels on the boxes. I went from ‘Look how fresh and clean!’ to ‘Start a fire, I don’t want any of this stuff.’ in just a few short minutes of unloading the truck.

I’ve tried not to be selfish, vain, or materialistic about it all, but being reunited with my things – after taking only a few suitcases to Atlanta anticipating a week or two at the most and was there for nearly 8 weeks – was like Christmas morning all over again.

I scurried around this evening trying to make some rooms somewhat livable among the chaos and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with my reasons to be thankful. Thankful for my job, for the people who helped me, for the people who didn’t help me and forced me to work harder (especially the ones who thought I couldn’t make it down here or those that figured some elected official would run me off)….my cup runneth over.

It was long after dark before I closed my front door this evening and even the blinds stayed open much longer than they should have. I just couldn’t stop looking, I’m almost in disbelief. This is what I wanted and this is what I’ve worked for.

It’s quiet out here, and maybe tomorrow I’ll have enough energy to be a little concerned about the stillness and the pitch black, but for tonight, I’m tired enough to sleep in the yard.

The Bottom.

The bottom…

…of a bottle, where you might find all of the answers.
…of the ocean, where there is more unseen than seen.
…of the barrel, where the pickins’ are slim.

The bottom is different for everyone and while we seem to reserve the term for alcoholics and drug addicts, we all have a bottom. It doesn’t mean we’re on the verge of death or suicide – no – the bottom is just the point at which you know you’ve hit every limb on the way down the dark hole and you’re alone. You’ve tumbled down what seems to be an endless flight of stairs. You have no more “bounce” and your options include laying there forever or picking yourself back up.

You can hit the bottom for a number of reasons – work, relationships, family, a lack of any of those three. The bottom knows no bounds and no one is too good for it.

I know all of these things for certain as I recently hit my own bottom.

While this cheerful blog is certainly not the place for the details of my internal demise, it’s safe to say I found myself in a place where most everyone else has been (- and the ones who claim they haven’t are either lying to themselves or lying to everyone else.) I’ve made no secret of the fact that I moved to South Georgia last year to abandon some of my problems and distance myself from a few of my mistakes. 365 days later, I can tell you that didn’t go over too well.

Not only did it not work, it actually made it worse. Like an infection on the tip of your finger that spreads down your hand and up your arm, a failure to address mistakes, missteps, and misfortunes will consume you and eat you alive. While it destroys you on the inside, everyone can see it on the outside. As you try to “manage” it all on your own, you slowly drift away from your anchor and the qualities that once made you great.

And unless you’re as lucky as the guy who carried his secrets to his grave only to leave his wife and his mistress unknowingly posting competing obituaries, your secrets and your demons will come out. They always do. And when they do, you’ll fight it, it will hurt like hell, and the despair will be unreal. You’ll feel embarrassed, you’ll want to run away…again…and then someone will metaphorically slap you across the face and remind you this would all be a lot easier if you would just look in the mirror, acknowledge what you don’t like, and fix it.

That’s the bottom…or at least you think it is, until you see the disappointment in the eyes of those you love and adore, that’s the bottom.

“When you decide to hit rock bottom, humiliation is part of the deal.”

The bottom is the point at which you decide you can no longer carry on as you have been. That you’re tired of hurting those around you, and you want to get to the point where you pull people closer instead of push them away.

The bottom also isn’t forever. The bottom is dark, but jessica onionswhen it’s darkest, it’s easier to see the light. The bottom is great even if only for the sole fact that the only place you can go…is up. You know none of these things, though, until you are actually there.

Our daily lives on this Earth are mere Jenga puzzles, teetering and unstable. Our goal is to stay in tact and our hope is that our foundation is solid enough to keep us afloat until the next day. Far worse than an unstable foundation, however, is our own refusal to acknowledge when the foundation needs rebuilding.

My job – and, begrudgingly I admit, my personality – probably exacerbated the problem simply because I always feel as if I have to be “on,” and willing and able to take someone to battle. I felt I always had to be presenting something, if you will, to keep my work on the forefront. I took minimal time for myself mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

What a mistake that was.

What good is good work when you can’t see past your problems? What pride can you feel when you only see your own negatives?

You can only be your own worst enemy if you’re also willing to be your biggest advocate. Being an advocate for yourself means refusing denial. More importantly, it means showing mercy for yourself, acknowledging that though you may make mistakes, you can grow, heal, and move on from them. Advocating for yourself means identifying the forgiving people around you – those that will acknowledge that while their mistakes may be different from yours, they still made mistakes.

The most dangerous thing we can do is pretend we can handle it all alone. The second most dangerous thing we can do is pretend everything is okay. How are we supposed to believe others have forgiven us when we won’t forgive ourselves?

Besides, that endless flight of stairs that got you to the bottom is exactly what will get you back to the top.


“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

*Video lyrics not to be taken literally*

 

The Transition.

I don’t like instability. I like structure, schedules, and organization. I am the poster child for Type A personalities. Transitions and disorder make me not only uncomfortable, but sometimes unable to function. I can’t stand limbo.

That’s how I ended up in South Georgia in the first place…I fled the city where I’d dissolved my life into chaos and confusion thinking if I just packed up and moved to a brand new place, the instability wouldn’t follow. That’s true to a point, and I eventually found a place of manageable, organized chaos after some time, but reaching stability is like growing a garden: It takes time and it’s seasonal.

And seasons end.

I functioned in this ‘manageable, organized chaos’ for a good while, working to put down roots and dedicating 16-18 hours a day to work…until my lease was up. When you work from home, and you don’t have a home, you suddenly have no office. Take away both those things at the same time and you feel like a newborn caterpillar trying to weather a tornado. Now, everything is in storage, I’m back living like an 17-year-old at my moms, and I’m commuting occasionally to work in rural Georgia from the northern ‘burbs of Atlanta.

I’m trying to buy a house, but that’s proved more difficult than I originally thought, so here I am on day 18 of transition. It’s a mess and it feels like I’m right back to where I started a year ago. If I let my mind think sit and wonder about it all, I can have myself so worked up that I’m convinced I’ll be living here until I’m 40, everything I’ve worked for will go down the drain, and even the dogs will resent me.

But worry is a terrible thing. It blinds us from optimism.

Aside from having mismatched shoes because some are in storage and longing for some of my ‘personal effects,’ transition has made me step back, slow down, and recharge. I was in a cycle of work in South Georgia that had me at “all work. no play.” Is motivation and commitment a good thing? Sure. But I had friends I hadn’t seen since I left Atlanta a year ago, people who were once an important component of my every day life that I managed to put second for work, and a compartmentalized life of “this” and “that.” I don’t regret that decision because I’m proud of what’s happened over the last 12 months, but it’s made me recognize the considerable imbalance.

I thought the stability I had established over the last year was part of my 5 or 10 year plan, and perhaps it is…but when someone asks, “Where are you going with all this?” or “How do you plan to get there?” and all you can offer them is a blank stare, you’re no longer on track. Also, “work harder” isn’t a plan.

I left the city because I felt like I was lacking a purpose. Making money to pay my bills, socializing to say I did, and climbing a ladder that had no top rung wasn’t cutting it for me and I blamed that on my physical address. But that can happen anywhere. They say that goals without a plan are just wishes. That’s what is true. We get into a groove, think we have it all figured out, but in searching for and maintaining stability, we can lose our focus.

This transition is stressful. It’s the first time I’ve been back in Atlanta for more than 4 days. I realize how much I miss some of “my people” and I’ve reconsidered what there is to appreciate about metro Atlanta. That’s a good thing – because I’d grown bitter about the very place I called home for 24 years all because of a few things that happened. At the same time, I long for the peacefulness of my home on a road hardly anyone travels and the smell of freshly cut grass. Part of me can’t wait to get back and watch the sunsets on the porch with my pups while planning my next small town coup.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last twelve months, it’s that few things in this life are forever. Each day is an opportunity for a transition, a new direction, or an improvement, and if we don’t see it as such, we will sink. We don’t have to keep relocating to keep from sinking, but, like your Internet browser, we do have to keep refreshing.

Aren’t we supposed to ask ourselves, “What do I want out of this day?” every single day?

And the answer every day should be “all of it.” Everything this life has to offer every time the world is offering it. A to Z. 1 to Infinity. No excuses. Every morning that we open our eyes, we have an opportunity. Any day we don’t seize those opportunities is a complete waste. It’s just up to us to decide where we want those worldly opportunities to take us – and that’s what transition is for. It isn’t limbo, it’s just a fork in the road.

I’m a work in progress -and I can try to plan out what’s next all I want -but I have no doubt the targets will keep changing and I’ll keep adding to the list of things I need to work on. Besides, if you want to make God laugh…plan.


“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” – Eckhart Tolle

Goodbye, Dixie.

11 months ago, I packed up my life on a whim and moved to South Georgia. Unfamiliar with the area, I picked Brooklet in Bulloch County. I picked the first house available, pretty much site unseen, and dove in head first to what I imagined would be a nice little adventure. The house I rented was a quaint old home just off of “downtown” with just the right size yard. At the top of my rent budget, the house was bigger than I needed, but it was where I wanted to be. It’s suited me just fine for nearly a year, but the lease on that quaint little home has expired. So, it’s time to say goodbye to Dixie…

…Street, that is. Yes, I moved from the big city to Dixie Street – like something straight out of a movie.

When I moved down here, I wasn’t sure if it would be temporary or not. I had lived south of the gnat line, but that was for a campaign, and life can be different when you’re on the trail. You don’t see things the same way and I did have worry in the back of my mind that I would regret my decision. But when I chose to leave the city, I did so with the idea in mind that this was a journey and I could come back at any time I wanted.

In the mean time, I made the house Dixie Streetmy home, but never hung pictures, didn’t spend much time “customizing,” and circumvented the part about becoming attached to a home. Luckily, I wasn’t home enough to realize that everything wasn’t up to my OCD standards, either.

So, I didn’t think I would be sad to ditch this house when the clock ran out. The house that has cracks under the doors that allow the bugs to waltz in and has zero insulation. The house that costs so much to cool that I can’t turn the AC on upstairs in the summer. The house that pretty much only dispenses warm water, never cold. The house that now has a vine growing out of the ceiling that I’ve been tracking with day-by-day photos – (gallery below) – and I’m pretty sure has some level of mold in it. And in the entire time I’ve lived here, I still haven’t gone in the shed out back.

But I am sad. As I’ve struggled to maintain my sanity in the chaos of moving, I’ve found myself a little sentimental about the house on Dixie Street.

I love my neighbors. The ones who watched my home for me, whether I was home or not, the ones who brought me cookies and holiday treats, the one who greeted every worker or utility person in my yard to question them on why they were there (for my own safety), and, of course, the one who works at the Sheriff’s Office and probably spent the last 11 months cutting at least 2 feet of my lawn on one side because I never knew where the property line started or stopped. Knowing they were around made the quiet, solitary property seem cozy and it felt good knowing I had people I could go to if something went wrong.

Brooklet has been a wonderful place to live. It’s quaint and friendly. It’s safe and the police have been wonderful to me. I wasn’t usually scared to be out with the dogs late at night and coming home alone didn’t worry me. I locked my doors because I’m from the city, but I know plenty of people who don’t. The people who work in the town have been beyond gracious and helpful and I even like most the city council members. (Did the world just explode?)

Besides, Brooklet has been the laboratory for so many of my lessons. It’s where I learned to mow the lawn, where I learned to squash almost all types of bugs on my own, regardless of how that took place, and where I learned how to get oversized furniture up and down the stairs by myself because I’m too stubborn to ask for help. I also learned how to breathe without inhaling gnats.

But more importantly, I learned a lot about me. My move to South Georgia was about so much more than a house or a small town, or a simple relocation. It happened under the guise of a job, but I did it to escape things I couldn’t handle or refused to address in Atlanta. Of course, that didn’t work, and I learned that rather quickly, but the country was the comfort my pain and the peace to my chaos. I faced my issues head on and found solace in my work.

I saw ups and downs with that too – my work – but I’ve progressed tremendously – despite, and because of, the haters. I’ve found a purpose and a niche. I know what I’m good at, yet I’ve found a place in my own life to examine my mistakes and my shortcomings, and I’ve see the benefit in doing so. I know where I’m content and where I want to grow.

It hasn’t all been roses and rainbows – after all, nothing is. I’ve seen cliques and mean girls (and mean boys!), death threats for stories, friendships dissolve, and an all out exile. I’ve watched how fast gossip and half-truths spread and I’ve seen how people work to protect their own, no matter how wrong that may be. I’ve felt stupid for leaving, alone in the universe, and just incompetent in general.

But all of those things are grossly outweighed by the good. Luckily, I’ve strengthened my faith, and by way of that, myself. I’ve been welcomed by people who know little about me and felt others treat me like family when they have no incentive to do so. I’ve been loved by others who open doors for me and allow me to learn from them daily. I now know that people can’t help you if you don’t tell them how and you can’t build relationships if you don’t let them trust you.

A lot has happened in a year. I’m very much the same as I was when I left, but sometimes not really at all.

I love where I’ve been because it’s a great place to be, but most of all, I love what’s happened on Dixie Street, because the house is just a place on the map. And now I’m lucky to know that the things I learned at this place on the map can travel with me wherever I go from here.

So will I stay or will I go? I’m planning on staying, I just don’t know where…yet. Much is to be determined, so stay tuned and check back…

The Weight.

I used to be overweight. Before you go searching the Internet for evidence, I will tell you right now that you won’t find anything. Facebook wasn’t a thing and the friends from high school still in my life have been sworn to secrecy for fear of retribution. Seriously.

My dad passed away when I was 14 and a series of things following that event led to weight gain. Serious weight gain.

Luckily for me, I didn’t attend a high school where there was a whole lot of bullying or meanness, so I spent most of time I was overweight generally unaware I was any different…until I would see pictures. Growing up very healthy, active, and a tennis player, it was really difficult for me.

When I turned 19, I decided that I was ready to make serious changes. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m stubborn and a perfectionist, so I won’t stop until everything is the way I want it. That’s not always a good thing.

I dropped a significant amount of weight the healthy way. I exercised, had a personal trainer, and ate a healthy diet that never deprived me. I dropped to a healthy size, but when I started dating a real loser, it just got worse. His terribleness had me stressed all the time and I dropped even lower – a size 0 everything was easy for me and I could wear anything I wanted. Inside, I still faced demons though. I saw my clothes sizes as different, but in the mirror I was still the girl who was 65 lbs heavier. I never felt “small.”

My life took a lot of “wrong” turns between my family, my boyfriend, and, of course, the regular pieces of life. Everything was out of control…except my weight. When everything was spiraling, I could go to the gym, go home, get on the scale, and know I was in charge. I never wanted anyone to know what I was really dealing with and if they were asking about my weight, it was a good cover.

A shield. A mechanism of control. My weight was my everything.

Time moved on, as it always does, and I shed my life of the wickedness and surrounded myself with good. I was Healthy, humble, and happy. My weight became secondary and I was enjoying everything. Life was perfect.

In 2013, fit hit the shan. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a thyroid problem. If you’ve ever had one, you know that it makes it impossible to lose weight -or to control gaining weight. (Of course I didn’t get HYPERthyroidism – which causes your body to overwork.) It was bad and nothing was good. Every pound was a complete defeat…an inch closer to who I used to be. I was embarrassed to see anyone I knew for fear that when I left they would say, “Wow! What happened to her?”

I cried all the time and never wanted to leave the house. It became so bad that I was angry at people who would ask me to go out to eat or do anything social. Friends, family, my boyfriend. It destroyed my relationships because I couldn’t relax enough to eat and I hated them for making me consume food. I would choose snack size of chips over an apple -if I ate anything at all – because the net weight was less. All of this just made everything worse. It was absolute madness and a terrible way to live. Everyone around me suffered for it for a very long time and I didn’t even realize it.

When I moved to South Georgia, I promised myself that I would work on things I didn’t like about myself and this has quite honestly been one of the biggest things. Not the weight – but the ability for my weight to control me. Part of me hoped not knowing anyone would just “fix” it all, but when does that ever happen? Being down here has been helpful in that sense. I struggle, but image isn’t the same focus as it was in Atlanta. The vanity is trumped by so much more and while people  may love you or hate you down here, it usually isn’t for anything physical. [And let’s be honest – my writing gives them 100 other reasons]. The time I’ve had a self-reflection has allowed me to corner the things that defeat me and challenge myself to change them.

Every day I have to talk myself into a normal state of mind with regard to my weight. I’m no where close, but I have to ask myself…Is the plate of nachos and time with someone I adore worth it? The answer is always yes. Will I regret not seeing my friends or my family if I choose to lock myself away instead? Yes. Do I wish we could do a lap around the park instead of eat hot dogs? Yes. But it isn’t always about me. And if someone is asking me to have dinner, it’s because they want to spend time with me, not because they want to force feed me. It sounds like a much smaller lesson than it is.

I am responsible for my own demons. No one made me this way and no one caused it. It was simply a consequence of several circumstances. But people often don’t know the battles that control us. We don’t know the internal conflicts of others. All we can do is encourage others to seek refuge in places conducive to their needs – where they can grow.

And as for the weight we carry, the heavy burdens, this is a prime example that it is often more mental than physical.

The Summer.

Scorching. Sweltering. Stifling. Blistering. Sizzling.

Summer has arrived – educationally speaking, that is. Seasonally, summer won’t commence for another 5 days, but for all intents and purposes — and because it’s hot as all things holy — it is summer south of the gnat line.

This is my first South Georgia summer. When I lived down here in 2014, I was sent home before summer melted off the spring, and when I moved down here last year, it was already August before I was down here full time. Apparently I was just too distracted by the newness of my new home or the summer heat literally burned away my memory, but I don’t recall the searing heat.

As a novice, I’m blown away every day by the intense heat. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It comes through your shoes from the ground and any orifice that’s opened feels like opening an oven on broil. I recently left town for a few days. I turned my thermostat up considerably so the A/C wouldn’t run in my absence and I swear it took a full 36 hours for the house to cool down. When people knock at the door, I want to yell through the window because I don’t want to risk letting out any of my precious air. Sitting on the back of a tail gate in shorts is out of the question and a cup of coffee stays in the car stays warm all day.

Mowing the lawn in this heat is unlike anything I’ve experienced either. At 8AM, it’s 86 degrees. At 7PM, it’s 86 degrees. At noon, it’s 126 degrees. I don’t understand when people do anything more exhaustive than breathing. This evening I went for a run through Brooklet. 35 minutes in I was about a mile from my house and I would have offered a month’s salary for a ride home. Luckily, a friendly golf cart driver came along and I was able to hitch a ride.

But there’s more.

The bugs are back. The unadulterated bug-free winter is over. I’m on high alert all the time. Opening cabinets, moving furniture, walking outside at night, really just any aspect of living can be tarnished by the oversized palmetto bugs and rodent-sized spiders just lurking in the shadows waiting to wreak havoc on my life at any point.

Two nights in a row now I’ve traveled to the store looking like a pink speckled leopard because of the amount of calamine lotion I have to use. The number of mosquito bites I have completely contradicts the reputation that precedes me with my job. I am much sweeter than people think – or at least the blood-sucking mosquitoes think so.

There is much I’ve grown accustomed to, though. For instance, I no longer inhale or cry gnats. I know how to breathe so they don’t interrupt my conversation. It’s an invaluable blessing.

 

But aside from the gnats, the heat, and the “skeeters,” there is much to enjoy and be thankful for. The simpleness is, and has been, one of my favorite things. The kids who spend their days outside playing in the dirt and building things – being kids. I can hear them laughing from my backyard, my front yard, and my office until dusk comes…and it’s the best sound. The farmers tilling the soil for their beautiful crops that are forthcoming make the drives (and my job) all the better. Life is good and pure in South Georgia during the summer…And of course, the longer days of summer mean I have more time to get back to writing.

 

Mile Marker 13.

13 years ago today my dad died. I was 14 and just finishing my freshman year of high school.

It wasn’t expected and it wasn’t easy – mostly because despite being a teenager, I had no idea what was going on around me. Until that point, I had been blessed to never lose someone in my life. I had never been to a funeral, I didn’t know what death was like, and I knew nothing about grief other than what I had read, seen on TV, and been told.

I didn’t understand the medical terms, I had lots of questions, and I knew that most of the information I was being told was sugar coated because I was the youngest. Despite it being a landmark in my life that I remember distinctly, it’s still very much a blur. Most of what I recall pertains to actually watching him take his last breath but remain present in front of me. It’s probably very naive, still today, but it was my reality at 14.   And if it can at all make sense, I didn’t realize that he was really gone until the big mile markers came along: graduation, first jobs, serious relationships.

I’ve made it no secret that my relationship with my dad was strained and essentially MileMarker13nonexistent when he passed away, so day-to-day fatherly things were not present in my life. He was an interesting man dedicated to tough love and arms length relationships. It worked okay for 4 boys, but not so well when a daughter came along. Much of my childhood was me tagging along to things he liked to do because I don’t believe he knew what to do with a little girl. The consequence is that for most of my life, he barely knew me. I just existed, as did pretty much everyone else in his life.

I took many things away from that experience, but the most important was probably that I didn’t want to just “be” in anyone’s life. I made up my mind that I would choose, with The Lord’s help, who was in my life. Similarly, I decided that I didn’t want anyone in my life unless they served a purpose.

No, not like that. A purpose in that I offered them something or they offered me something. That I could teach them something or that they could make me better or more wholesome. I didn’t want innocent bystanders in my life, I wanted movers and shakers. People who I could and would impact and vice versa. I never wanted anyone to feel like they just existed in my life.

I would say that I’ve done a pretty good job of that on a relationship level. I have had the opportunity to willingly, and unwillingly, surround myself with some incredible people. But I left Atlanta because I felt like I was just existing there. I worked to make money and sometimes socialized because it was necessary – not because I wanted to. I couldn’t see a purpose for most of what I was doing through the smog fog of everyone else’s purpose.

In South Georgia, the longer you’re here, the more your identity – and your purpose – is defined. But the small towns and the sparse populations makes it easy to sift through those who want to interact and those who want to standby and watch – whatever it may be that’s worth watching. But even the bystanders have an impact, it just usually isn’t good. Either way, it’s quite easy to see where someone stands on the spectrum of impact.

It took a little less than 13 years to learn a lesson that I may have never learned had my dad still been around – people, every person, can have an impact on your life if you allow them to. I often wonder if we would have ended up having a relationship as I grew up or as he grew older. I also wonder if, because of experiences with him, I too would have allowed people to “just exist.” I know, in some ways, I am like him so surely we would have eventually had a few things in common. Still his absence has been a lesson in and of itself.

Why? Because it’s been 13 years and I’m so different now. I didn’t just grow up. I graduated high school, college, and graduate school. I’ve had all kinds of jobs, I’ve tried new things, I’ve met some amazing people, I’ve left my comfort zone, and I’ve burned built bridges.. I’m buying a house of my own, putting down roots, and I’ve evolved into my own person. I’ve established a purpose, so I don’t just “exist.” And neither does anyone else. My eyes are wide open, watching and waiting to see what everyone else brings to the table.

My dad didn’t know me “back when”, so he surely wouldn’t know me now…but seeing where I am today, I’m not sure which one would have yielded a better result.