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The World is Mine

January 21, 2009

I’ve been thinking lately about my geographic location in terms of how far away I am from the people I love, the places that feel familiar, and all of that other stuff. Many people have asked if I thought it would be hard being so far away from my family and friends, and usually I just tell them, “yes, but…”

I started out in small town Montana. (“There are actually people from Montana?” – “I know, I hardly believe it either.”) I lived there for all of 18 years, for 16 years in the same house. Familiarity was stability. It was love. I loved the town I came from, being able to ride my bike down the street to see all the kiddies playing in the swimming pool, driving to the edge of town to hang out with my grandma, spending hours upon hours on old greyhound buses with the band geeks during basketball divisional play offs, hanging out after football games at the coffee shop owned by the mother of one of my best friends, and having to drive for 45 minutes just to get to a Walmart. I loved my purple bedroom adorned in butterflies and flowers and scented candles, I loved the 100 year old upright grand piano that sat against the living room wall, the basement that always flooded and we never finished with the old ugly brown carpet and the computer set up with chairs behind it so my brother and I could play Oregon Trail with the babysitter and her little sister. I loved everything about growing up where I did.

Which is why my first move– to college– was hard. Oh my, was it hard. I was so excited. I wanted something new! exciting! adventurous! But I found myself with so much unfamiliarity that I ended up holing up in my dorm room for nearly a whole semester before I finally started to feel comfortable with a city and a new school and new people. I had wanted to go to a school where none of my other friends were headed. I wanted to prove to myself that while I loved them, I didn’t need them to survive. I proved the exact opposite. But I learned.

And I really came to adore Bismarck. I really did. To this day, driving into that city from either direction feels like coming home. I made so many friends, had so many wonderful experiences, and I think that Bismarck is the place where my childhood dreams turned into actual life goals.

Even so, for that first year I had a home to go home to. Hometown, best friends, the wonderful familiarity and comfort of an entire city laid out on one Central Avenue.

And then my parents decided to move to Minnesota.

And with that we all left familiarity behind. My brother and I went to the same high school my dad went to. My dad’s mom and sister were still within a 15 mile radius. We’d all been there for awhile. I was already away at college, so the transition shouldn’t have been a huge one for me- and it wasn’t- but it did mean that for a very long time, going home never actually felt like going home.

Eventually, though, that house felt like our house, my bedroom, obnoxious polka dots and all, felt like mine, and life settled in and went back to normal.

And just when I was really getting attached to Bismarck, I graduated and had to move to another school.

I never fell in love with Minnesota State the way I fell in love with Bismarck State. I never fell in love with Fargo/Moorhead the way I loved Bismarck. But by that point, I was beginning to understand what new places meant to me, what leaving them behind would have to mean to me. It’s not like I purposely tried not to love it, I just couldn’t bring myself to.

And that brings us to… here and now.

So far, even being as far as I am from home, no matter which home you consider, this has been the easiest transition I have ever made. Sure, I still need to figure out the money situation and all the practical parts of being a real adult for the first time, but emotionally? Totally a piece of cake. All of the moving around I’ve done in the past four years? It was just practice for this move.

I’ve known since I was about ten years old that I’d end up here someday. I never imagined I’d already have a best friend here working and going to school, or that I’d end up with an awesome roommate whose mother just took care of everything concerning the house. I never imagined that the people here would be exactly like the people everywhere I’ve ever lived– friendly, helpful, sincere… I’m far away from many of the people I love, but I’m also much closer to one of my best friends than I’ve been in two and a half years. I know my car could make it home if I really needed the trip.

And I know that nothing is forever.

This is the first time in my life where I can’t look into the foreseeable future and see where I’ll be going next, or even if there is a next. The truth is, I could end up in Tennessee forever.

But now that I’m here, I’m not sure I want to be here forever. Sure, I haven’t given it a fair shot, that’s true. And it’s not that I haven’t loved everything about it so far. I love it here. But I’ve gotten good at moving, and there’s still so much of the country–of the world to experience. There are so many more people to meet, friends to make, things to do… I can’t imagine living here and only here for the rest of my life.

So, I’m here until I can get a career up and going, or until I decide another career in another city is better suited to me.

Until then, I just get to wonder where Next will be…

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