I think I accidentally started attempting to find myself. I don’t actually believe in that sort of thing, or mid-life crises, or any of that Eat, Pray, Love journey to self discovery stuff (except the Eat part, which I wholeheartedly believe in, ask the scale at my doctor’s office). I’m more of a “play the hand you’re dealt” sort of thinker. I enjoyed reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book about her journey of self-discovery, but not for the self-discovery part. I kind of thought that throwing away relationships and jobs and an entire LIFE was pretty selfish. I also thought that it was something only a white person with money would do, because most of us are just trying to get from one day to the next hoping we have our kids’ schedule right, that there’s milk in the fridge, that someone paid the utility bills, and that there’s a refill left on the Lunesta. I enjoyed her book because I liked reading about the places I’d never visit and the food I’d never eat; the rest was kind of ridiculous to someone like me; I don’t have time for that much thought let alone that much energy or money for travel. But somehow I found myself on an introspective, self discovery “journey” anyway, although journey isn’t really the right word for it as I’ve mostly been in my bed but, my brain has been all over the place, and any other word I use for that just isn’t flattering for someone with ADD and bipolar disorder.
It really did start by accident. I made amends to someone. Not because I’m in a twelve step program, but because after over twenty-five years, wise words from a friend, and some serious contemplation, I finally realized that I needed to. It was too little too late, but the response I received overwhelmed me a bit. I really did not know how much of the fault lay with me, or how much pain I had inflicted, because I had pushed the entire relationship so far down inside myself that I literally couldn’t remember whole stretches of time and entire people from that time. If there was an Olympics of Emotional Suppression I would be a world record holder.
And once that bubbled to the surface other stuff did too. I spent a morning laying in bed messaging back and forth with another old friend who I had reconnected with after too many years apart. (On a side note: I know Facebook has a lot of flaws, but I’m glad it’s there for finding people I thought were lost to the winds of time. I am someone who went to boarding school in high school, and who has moved way too many times; without Facebook I would have lost touch with many people who I dearly love, but Facebook and its pros and cons are a discussion for a different day.) My friend and I were reliving our glory days as call center employees in Kansas City, a job that we both loved for its ease, for the friends we made, including our missing third “musketeer” Joey, and for just being a good time most days. She and Joey drove from KC to Minnesota to attend my wedding to the hubby way back in ’95, and the day/weekend wouldn’t have been complete without them. Somewhere between reliving glory days, deciding on a quest for the missing musketeer (followed by many Holy Grail gifs of course), and talking about our lives now, I typed a sentence that might be the truest thought I’ve ever had. A thought I didn’t even know was in my head until it came out of my fingers: Moving away from there is the biggest regret of my life.
Moving away from there is the biggest regret of my life. It doesn’t seem like such a monumental revelation just on its on like that. It is though, because there’s a lot of context that goes with it. The most important thing to know about moving from the KC area back in 1995 is that it was not my idea and I wasn’t happy about it, but I didn’t say no. I expressed some reservations, but I never said: “NO. I do NOT want to move. My family is here, I have friends here, I grew up nearby, and I am not ready to start over again right now,” even though those are the things I was thinking. I didn’t say those things because I was afraid. Afraid that if I did say no I would end up twenty-five and TWICE divorced; afraid that if I did say no I would end up with a husband who resented me and would always blame me for everything; afraid that if I did say no to his big idea he would consider me his reason for not being fill-in-the-blank, or whatever it was he wanted to become. I didn’t say no, and twenty three years later that sentence finds its way onto the screen: Moving away from there is the biggest regret of my life.
I think that I landed where I was supposed to. I don’t want to be in KC, or even Missouri, today. I am comfortable here on the prairie, and the only thing I would change is finding a house outside of town, so I could have some roosters and raise my own baby chicks in a proper barn. I don’t regret where I ended up at all, but the road to get here? That is not a smooth one. I have done every thing in my power to fill in the pot holes and pave over the cracks, but I’m afraid this little self-discovery journey my brain has decided to go on is going to take this road back to gravel.