It came to me as a bleak realization that I had not traveled more than 150 miles outside of my “hometown” over the course of a calendar year.
Growing up, I did everything I was supposed to do. I followed the traditional steps to success verbatim. Attending college, accruing debt, aggressively job searching, settling for any type of salary to start paying off that debt and then 5 years after my high school graduation I found myself right back where I started, living 23.4 miles away from where I went to school.
I had subconsciously always thought that my path in life would be obvious, that at some point I would find a cosmic compass to tell me what to do, that pointed me in my destined direction. Or maybe in the back of my mind I believed some Prince Charming would emanate and take me away to the big city where he had everything set up for me. Yet after a rushed 3 years of college, a lackluster post graduation job with hourly wages and no desire, need or funds to pursue further education, I settled to retreating back to the comforts of the familiar. I went home. With minimal effort I was able to secure gainful employment back home and move out of the parent’s house shortly after moving back in.
But somehow retracing my steps in this coastal Florida town has not been fulfilling. I wonder if it is the same elsewhere, or if it’s just this transient philosophy we grow up on in a transplant state. No one is really “from” here, it’s not like those Midwestern corn-fed towns where you’ve got familial dynasties all living in the same neighborhood, running the same high school tracks and working the same trades. If you were born here, your parents probably weren’t and if they actually were you’re a true rarity, a shark tooth in the sand and you earned that “FloGrown” window decal.
Just as I started to lose hope and blame the economy, the stagnant south, my unconventional degree and all the other voiceless scapegoats we like to turn on when times get tough, something good really happened and my love of life reengaged. Like movie script destiny, I was presented an opportunity to keep the job I enjoy so much AND transfer to a new location.
So it is my pleasure to share the excitement and anxiety that will accompany this transition over the next few weeks as my North Florida Brown Dog and I prepare to pack up the Corolla and head north.