Life is Busting out ALL Over!

The Journey

Posted on: June 21, 2007

It’s been a strange couple of weeks for me. I think it started with going back down to Indiana, to where I’m going to spend the next year in grad school. The purpose of the trip was to find a place to live, but something much bigger happened. I suppose the reality of the situation hit me that this is where I’m going to live. Obviously, it’s something you think about. But when I chose the grad programs I wanted to apply to, I chose them for the program, not for the town or city that it occupies. I think, for graduate programs, that is what you have to do.

Unlike undergrad, the program is the main factor, the priority, not the extraneous information such as, does it have a winning football team (it does not, the failure in football seems to follow me), is there a good bar scene (probably not), or how great is the mall (woot for JC Penney!). I am confident in my decision to attend this program as it will allow me to have the best experience possible additionally at a lower cost and less time to complete the program (something at 29, was important to me).

This confidence, however, immediately drained as soon as I drove into town for the third time. Unlike the first two times, I wasn’t so much focused on my destination because I had been there enough to go without directions (however, not without a speeding ticket). So when I drove into town, and driving around the next day, I was looking at it with new eyes, the eyes of a future resident. And these eyes were FREAKED out.

First, I am moving from a large, Blue city in a Blue state to a small Red city in a Red State. Secondly, like much of the rural Midwest, it is a depressed town. Without the university, the town wouldn’t exist.

Now, I’m not some cosmopolitan city girl who can’t live without her martinis and brunches. In fact, I now make my own martinis and choose local organic places to eat my breakfast, if I choose. I’m also no stranger to rural college towns in the Midwest, having spent my undergraduate years in one. But it’s quite a different experience when you are spending your 4 years in a bubble. As a grad student, I made a conscious choice to live farther from campus, to commute a tad, and to separate myself alone from groups of students.

I will conclude this portion of rambling but just stating that it is hitting me that even though this is the journey I chose, and with no regrets, it is a journey I will take alone. (Well, my roommate will be coming with me, I can’t give her up, duh!) Sure, I’ll make friends with my cohort, and thanks to the wonders of facebook (which, I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest person registered) I’ve already gotten to know some of them. But it is daunting to understand how reliable I must be on myself. More than when I moved to my own place, with no help (except for the rad mover guys that showed up 2 hours late), More than when I traveled the country as a collegiate consultant and always had a warm place to stay and food provided for me, more than when I moved into my first apartment in the city into a place with 2 strangers for roommates.

Amazingly, a transformation has also happened. After 7 years of contemplating if this is the right thing for me, of wanting and craving it when times in my current career went south, I am actually doing it. A lifetime spent of regrets, and rethinking my choices and living in the past when life was easy (hah!) is gone. I have no trepidations or reluctance. My last day in corporate America is Tuesday. I have 6 weeks of packing, cleaning and spending time with those important to me. Then I’m off. My future, my journey is right ahead of me and I feel like I am on the right road, in cruise control and it is scary but exciting and wonderful all that the same time.

However, if my loans would come in like they are supposed to in the next couple of weeks, I may just be worry free!
P.S. Although I know this post was long – be thankful that I didn’t also include the other things that are making this weird, like being shunned by my boss, the boyfriend and I agreeing to stay together next year without knowing what the future might be and completely close to broke paying off my remaining debts. But that stuff, that’s all in a day’s work.


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musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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