This will be my first writing challenge tackled in the Daily Post, and what better challenge to start with, than something I am so familiar with; Starting Over.
I have spent most of my life in continuous cycles of starting overs. I have ping-ponged back and forth across the USA, Bahamas & Caribbean since I was 20 years old. In fact, this assignment couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The end of this month marks exactly 20 years since I packed up everything that was important in my world, crammed it into my little ‘85 Ford Tempo, named ANI (the only car I ever owned that I named by the way) and proceeded to moved from my parents’ house in Nashua, NH, 3,000 miles away to live with my sister in Thousand Oaks, CA.
The move happened 2 weeks before I turned 21, and it took me nearly 5 months to make the final decision to go. I was in an unhealthy relationship at the time with a boy who was very bad for me. I had nothing going on and no idea what I was going to do with my life, and I needed to make a change. My mother, although reluctant to see me go, was very supportive of my leaving. I knew in my head it was the smartest thing to do, but it was a big move physically & emotionally. I had a daily internal struggle with myself as to if I should go or not, some days I changed my mind on an hourly basis, and I nearly drove myself insane over it. Finally what helped me decide to move was this thought: “I can go and try it out for 6 months. If I hate it, I can always come back.”
And so it was; decision made. My sister flew one-way from California then she & I took a week to drive across the country. It was the exciting beginning of a brand new life for me, and I was a raving bitch the first day. At 20 it was a lot for my young mind to process, as soon as we got on the highway I was doubting myself & questioning my decision. I was sad & angry and nervous about all that I was leaving behind. The first day was emotionally very hard for me to deal with, but I was better on the second day, when the initial shock & sadness of day one was replaced by the excitement & adventure of day two and my first big road trip ahead. I was starting over and I had no idea what the hell lay ahead of me in any direction. The world before me was uncharted territory; everything I would do, everyone I would encounter, everything I would see would be completely new to me.
It was a scary time, but it was also exciting. That the first year I lived in California was the biggest growing & maturing experience for me, and moving out West was the smartest decision I made in my early adult life.
Since that first move out of NH, I’ve repeated this cycle of new beginnings over and over. I have now moved 15 different times between January of 1993 and January of 2013. –I’ve lived in 15 different locations in the past 20 years! That’s a lot to fathom even for me, who has actually lived it, and I know for a fact, without that initial move; without that willingness to start over that very first time, I would not be where I am today. Not physically, not emotionally. That’s what starting over gave me -after taking that first difficult step- a lifetime full of new adventures.
And the next 20 years?… well, I’ll just have to wait & see where those bring me.