Never regret something that once made you smile. – Anonymous
The length of a blink is anywhere from 100 to 400 milliseconds long. The length of time I spent at home after graduating was 413 days. In comparison, I spent 107-million times the amount at home that I do in a blink.
Yet the two are indistinguishable.
On Sunday, I will drive east toward Ohio State University where I will begin my second life as a graduate student in social psychology (no, I will not be a “shrink” but an experimenter–and no, I will not be able to prescribe medicine).
I leave behind family, friends, my favorite chair, my Xbox, 700 channels on Comcast, a fresh set of sheets every Friday (my mom spoils me). And I’ll be honest about the change:
It’s always been difficult for me to leave home. It’s comfortable here. It’s safe. I know the fastest routes to Safeway. I know who to greet when I walk into the gym. I know the cheapest spot to buy beer. Now, however, all of that is gone.
Three years ago, I sat in the airport to fly off to Thailand for four months, and while there, I was thinking of the myriad of possibilities that could potentially (hopefully) forestall my trip.
My Dad could call and say he needed me home to help run the business. My novel could be picked up and I would need to immediately make a cross-country book tour. I could be perceived as a terrorist and put on the no-fly list (the NSA probably just stored this blog away somewhere at the drop of that word).
However, none of that happened, and instead, I stepped onto the plane, took off into the air, and had one of the best experiences of my life. And I have no doubt that a similar thing will occur once I drive off to Ohio.
It’s just difficult convincing Present-Jake that Future-Jake will make up for the current stomach-knotting.
My brother once wisely told me, “If you’re cold, there’s no point wishing that you were warm. Just accept that you’re cold and you’ll get over it.”
That’s the case for going to Ohio. I have to stop wishing I could bring my family and friends with me, have the streets renamed and my house supplanted. I need to simply acknowledge: I am going.
But as my sister once asked: “Jake, did you enjoy being unemployed?”
And after momentarily being offended, I responded with a big grin: It was freaking awesome.
This was a most glorious year. Maybe one of my favorites. Still, the highlight reel could be chronicled in the different cushions I was seated upon.
Enjoy your next journey in life. I am confident that where ever you go you will flourish. You certainly will be missed by your friends and family but then again the new people you meet will get to experience the wonderful person you are.
You have heard Jake’s perspective of leaving–Now the rest of the story.
A funny thing about humans (at least from my perspective), the more you have of something the more of it you want to have.
If you have a cocktail every day or smoke cigarettes for years or have sex every other day and then, for what ever the reason you stop, the urge to want to start up again is overpowering. It becomes the focal point of your existence. You rationalize the need to have one more glass of wine before you quit, just a cigarette after the occasional meal, or one more romp on the floor in the kitchen or in a king size bed or leaning up against a tree in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Alas, being around Jake and enjoying his company this last year has created a want or need to have more of him, and this craving will no doubt occupy my waking hours (just one more week, is all I will need). But it is a fool’s delusion.
I have found the best way to deal with these addictions is go “cold turkey”. Give him a hug, a kiss goodbye and deal with the agony of his departure. With the comfort knowing that he will be back in this house in 109 days for Thanksgiving. (Or, we could catch a flight from Portland to Ohio and meet him when he arrives from his cross-country drive to Ohio State.)
(These words are meant for all three of our kids, because by the end of September, they will all be scattered to the “four winds”. I sympathize with the next group of friends/acquaintances that they will meet and eventually leave behind, because it will cause the same set of “separation anxieties” I am feeling today.)