‘Gratitude’

It’s been a long road and it is a long way from over, both literally and figuratively speaking. The decision of whether or not to stay in the Bay or leave was an agonizing one. I played out every possible scenario in my head and very few of them looked promising, so on January 20th, like a worn-out character in an old country song, I threw my bags in my truck and waved goodbye to Oakland, CA and the girl I’d fallen for.

Those first 40 miles or so were brutal. Every song on the radio seemed sadder than the next; even the upbeat ones. As the journey continued and the road opened up though, I was able to breath deeply for the first time in a while. I took in the beautiful scenery and accepted the fact that my life was about to look very different than it had from the previous nine months.

They say when you hit rock bottom, there is no way to go but up. I hope that’s true, but even if I have to stay down here for awhile and collect the pieces, I feel lucky to have learned so much about the people in my life and, just as importantly, myself. As I mentioned earlier, this trip isn’t over yet (I’m now in San Antonio, TX), but here are a few of the things I’ve absorbed thus far.

My family and friendships are by far my greatest assets. The amount of support I’ve had along the way has been incredible. I wouldn’t trade my family and friends for the world!

This country is something else. It’s massive, the population extremely diverse and the environments can vary drastically from state to state. Yet, despite the many differences, we are all in the same game.  We all want a roof over our heads, sustenance, meaningful relationships and good health. Everything else is gravy. I’ve lost sight of that fact more than once. Being on this journey is helping me remember what’s important.

A great many of us feel we are ‘lost.’ Some folks think they have it all figured out, and perhaps they do. For those select few, I applaud you.  I might even say I envy you. To the others, myself included, we’ve got nothing to fear, truly. We’re all in this mess together after all and, when the dust settles, the only person you really have to answer to is yourself. If you can look in the mirror and can be honest about who you are and what you believe in, you’re making your way.

With all this time to reflect, I’ve also learned about some of my weaknesses and things I’d like to work on.  Some of these things I’ve realized on my own and some of them have been pointed out to me by a close friend, which leads me to the two biggest lessons I’ve learned during these last few months.  The first is that we will never be able to please everyone, so it’s important to be who YOU are and second, I really do have much to be grateful for!

Some of the people along the journey I’d like to give a special thanks to are, in the order of my stops, ‘Dirty‘ in San Diego, CA for helping me laugh and reminding me, when you strip away all the noise, how simple life really is.  To Michelle in Tucson, AZ for her kind soul and patience. To Marcus in El Paso, TX for believing in me and pointing out all the good in my life (and the not so good).  To Brian in San Antonio, TX for his unrelenting hospitality and much needed, logical mind.  And finally, to my mom, for her unwavering love and understanding throughout.  *Ah! One more big thanks goes to Melanie, via Atlanta, GA for sending me a least a day’s worth of music for the road at the last minute!  There are many more of course, and they know who they are.

I look forward to seeing all of you sooner rather than later and hope you are all thriving in all your endeavors, whatever they may be!  When the time comes, I hope to be there for you, as you’ve been for me.  Until then, ‘God Bless Texas!’ 

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