I am leaving in t-minus 6 days.
Yep, Sunday morning, June 19th, I will be driving to Cuyahoga Valley National park in Cleveland, Ohio.
It's a 7-hour drive, which I know won’t bother me a bit. I plan on staying just one night and moving on to the next place-Chain O'Lakes State Park in Spring Grove, Illinois.
I have more steps than two planned out, but I'll keep it simple now and update as I go since the destinations may change
(depending on recommendations I hear, hours I feel like driving the next day, or some other factor).
It's been a long time coming... and I know that it could have been a shorter amount of time, had I simply set the date for myself and made sure to have had everything ready to go in time for it. That's life though; we disappoint ourselves at times. But when we surprise ourselves, we are able to somehow forget all the times we failed in our minds before. I know that once my car is packed with all of the essentials, I wont feel a bit of self-frustration or regret. The path in front of me will be clear; I'll just need to walk on it.
My path is clear now too, though, which comforts and surprises me. Last summer, I felt compelled to separate myself from the world I've known and go to one that was simple and without obligation, ties or responsibility. Meeting people in the Valley who had been living like that for years was a completely new experience that enchanted my mind. I still believe what I was convinced of then- that nothing is stopping you from doing anything. Nothing. No circumstance, law, rule, or responsibility can hold you back, because those things are only thoughts. Thoughts we believe in and live by. That doesn't make them wrong, but not being wrong doesn't make something a truth. Truth is that you create your own existence. You can chose to love or loath whatever comes at you... You can chose to react- or not, and how to react to anything.
I also learned that I, like all people, are capable of almost anything. If you can do it, so can I. What makes one person more special or talented or fortunate than another? Effort. Continuous, conscious, and active effort towards goals that are geared towards those things. If you try hard enough for long enough, you will, no, you HAVE to succeed (unless one has a physical limitation- but a lot of those can be overcome as well)!
So I wanted to go for it. I lied there in the Valley after a few days of quiet, calm contemplation over the thoughts that had been flying into my mind; I decided I'd go on a trip. I’d go for a while, who knows how long it would take! It could be years, months or just weeks long. I wouldn't care if I had enough money, I wasn't sure when I'd leave or how I would go where. I’d just make it happen. I just knew I'd go, and go mostly alone. Maybe have people meet me out, or meet up with people I knew living near where I was staying. And not just staying, camping- I'd camp, and I'd feel the earth beneath me each night for as long as I could. I'd live outside, like I always wanted to do as a child.
This last year has been such a gift. When I was in Yosemite, dreaming dreams I'd turn into reality, I felt that my life's direction was too vague to follow, and that my options had no influence. I hoped I would find a pull in a park, a city or state. I needed to believe that where I would live, go to school at, and what degree I'd work towards was true for me. Was right and true.
I came home, ready to leave it without more than a couple of glances. Finally, I lived in Philadelphia without trying to live in Philadelphia. Because I knew I was leaving and that my future in the city was uncertain, I lived without seeking. Before, coming to live in Pennsylvania was attached to very defined goals in my mind. I wanted a fresh start with friends, experiences, and fun that was like A, B, and C. I constantly looked for clues in life and read into and reexamined them so that I may have had better luck at living the life they were alluding to. But after coming home, I didn't care how which people were perceiving, or what I should be doing with myself when. I just was. I was being.
And guess what? Life came at me in the most natural way... Influence materialized and my goals focalized. My fresh start was not just in social life, but in all walks and levels of my life. The friends I've made, the experiences I've had, and the fun I've enjoyed has been unmatched in self-fulfillment than any other time in my life. I don't know who to thank or what, but I am thankful. I couldn't have seen my life playing out how it has this past year, because if I had, it probably wouldn't have happened. Thank you life, for surprising me.
I can't wait to drive and drive and drive. I can't wait to camp, sweat, freeze, be dirty, feel the burn, and breathe. The rocks, dirt, plants, animals, trees, mountains, canyons, and skies will be like nothing I've seen before... and I simply can't wait. Gladly too, I can't wait to come home. I have a studio apartment lined up to stay in this fall. I'll be renting it alone in Philly, only a few blocks away from Temple, where I'll attend their art school, Tyler. I'm transferring there and am so proud of myself for finally making it. Temple is the only college I've ever actually wanted to go to. For how many I've looked into, that means it really stands out as right for me, for whatever reason.
Having family here was reason number one for moving up in the first place, so of course, coming home to them will be wonderful. My big sister/best friend ever will have moved to South Carolina by then, so I'll be missing her as I do now- since she's away in Oklahoma for work this summer. Our bond is hardly even bent when it's stretched over states, though. So I know that will be okay.
The man I am so glad and fortunate to call my boyfriend will luckily still be living in Philadelphia come this fall. Though he graduated from Drexel with his master's degree just this weekend, he wont be moving away for a job, since he's creating one from where he is. I never saw myself with an entrepreneur, but now that I'm with one, I don't know how I could have pictured myself without a man of creative, growing ambition and self-reliance. I'm thrilled to see how our relationship will grow and change in the future.
Some of the friends I've made in my life stick with me for a long, long time. And some for forever... And I'm so lucky to have more than one or two people who I know are my life long friends... in fact I have many, and that's incredible. The men and women I am friends with here, and in a few other states, are hands down the best people ever. Living in Philadelphia has been full of truly kindred fun that I'm super excited to come back to.
So much for sweet and simple; but hey, there was some clearing up and explaining I thought my readers deserved to hear.
To all of those who love me, I love you too. SO, SO much.
Will be updating again soon!