Since Christopher wrote one ubiquitous holiday post, I’ll do another. It’s true, we did just take Christmas in my home state, after two and a half years and lots of changes between. As these things go, it felt like we never left at all, though knowing in our bones all the distance we really had traveled. Ever since we moved, I have had frequent dreams about my life back in Virginia, half-lucid and uncanny, wherein I am often trying to figure out how I got there and how I would get back to Texas, with all those miles ahead. Being in the truck has made that sensation of impassable and infinite space much less daunting and mythified, but still, in the weeks leading up to our break with family, I still felt that surreal tug into a land and frame of mind that I thought I had left behind me.
Coming back to Hampton Roads was like entering into another dimension: stepping to the left or turning forty-five degrees into a plane of existence familiar but strange, where you could only spot the differences if you looked really closely. But even with the additions of bike lanes everywhere in Ghent, the new developments in parts of Norfolk and Newport News, and the small changes my sister had made in her house–the house I lived in during my last two years of college–everything felt just like I had left it.
So many experiences, so many mistakes and successes and choices and lessons contained in that house alone, not to mention the rest of the city, and then feeling a whole breadth more in just the two and a half years since leaving…it was definitely a little hard to keep my head screwed on for the week. Recursive head trip aside, I still felt an intense and sublime pleasure in seeing the growth and gains Chris and I had made since we graduated from ODU and moved south.
In that time, we’ve increased our family income threefold, become homeowners; won, lost, and survived jobs; met a bevy of excellent friends, and made great decisions for the continued embetterment of our partnership and the goals we have still ahead of us. At the end of last year, Chris and I had already started making moves on our crackpot trucking idea; together we wrestled with the loose ends of the previous months and tried to assemble them back together into a pattern that could work for us. We made a lot of sacrifices and spent way too much time apart, but we made it work. We are exactly where we envisioned ourselves: working together, making great money, seeing the country, and doing all the things we love doing without anyone over our shoulder. And still, we have our eyes on the horizon for next year’s improvement.
As I write this, we are holed up in the truck at our company’s satellite terminal in West Memphis, Arkansas while we rest up after our family’s final Christmas gift: a sinus cold. Not the most exciting place to roll in the new year, but we are safe and warm inside from the twenty degree weather, with decent internet and plenty of food. The open field beside our parking spot graces us with great signal, but ushers in some strong winds that are buffeting our bobtail as I write. It is serene in our tortoise-shell home where we take everything with us on our backs, and man, you’ve never met such happy turtles.
Knowing that we worked hard together for this seeming pipe dream–enduring months of separation, training, saving, and planning–to see it made real, is more than enough. I have the best partner for me, and our whole marriage has been proof that we are capable and unstoppable and so in love. I never pictured my life having half a chance at being this good.
Not many people know all the gory details of my upbringing in Virginia, or what I survived to get where I am today, but like many coming-of-age stories, it is bittersweet and full of mixed feelings. While I really enjoyed coming back “home,” I view it in a much different way now and am happy with the person I’ve become under different skies, and partner I get to share them with. Chris’ post contains some of these sentiments, though my Virginia has deeper roots in my memory, a lot of which I’ve tried my damnedest to dig out, for better or worse.
Indeed, the path through life is not linear, but rather a spiral that we can ascend or descend at any moment, to look back with the new perspectives and experiences informing what we have already lived and what we have yet to.
Still, I can’t help but feel like mine has been a continuous upward journey. There is still some reconciliation work ahead for me and my past, and for some of the people in it. Perhaps some of which I can’t do until more clarity and distance comes on that spiral path, marked by a score of decisions, that I can only determine one choice at a time.
Recursion is a lovely thing. I hope your new year brings you something strange, something familiar, something challenging, something reassuring, and all things that lead you to becoming your best self. See you on the path.