Random mental jingle-jangle today, I'm thinking - at least, I *think* I'm thinking. It's so hard to tell...
Erm, a topic. I need a topic. Very well, here's a topic. Today marks my one-year anniversary at my "new" job. Feels weird. This is my first "real" job, the first one that required any more than a tenth-grade education. And I've been here a year - one year of complete independance, no one sharing an address (well, okay, two cats - but no other humans).
What... where was I going with this? I don't know... Well, let's look at what's got me on edge. In just under two weeks, I'll be leaving for Anthrocon. I started thinking about that earlier, and Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" started playing back through my mind. Got me thinking about the last time that happened, just over a year ago.
Man, this is rambling. Maybe some background would help put things in perspective. I grew up as an oil-patch kid, bouncing all over the world. Never lived more than five years in any one place, usually less than that. Well, the big oil bust in '85 put a stop to that - summer of '86, we moved back to the States, more or less permanently. No more gypsy life. For the first couple of years, it hit me bad - panic attacks, socialization problems (though to be fair, that may have just been my personality problems, I don't know), feelings of being lost. I was a basket case, and I knew it. Arrested development, the whole nine yards. For a real good picture of what I was, imagine Wayne from "Wayne's World" - but lose the cool. Maybe even lose the cool from Garth.
For *fifteen* *freakin'* *years*, that was me. Well, not quite fifteen. About three years ago, everything kinda *snapped* into focus - with some extra-heavy duty hints from my parents, I admit - and I took another shot at college. Well, Vo-Tech, anyway. BTW, ITT Tech is a really good school, if you actually *want* to learn. Sure, they can be a diploma mill - most of the class I graduated with came out with not much more than they went in with - but if you show the desire to learn, most of the teachers there really *love* to actually teach.
Focus, focus... about a year later, I *finally* got an apartment - moved in with a friend from work, who was a quarter behind me in school. Worked out well - we were both intensely private people. A year ago, I graduated, and the next day, I was on my way halfway across the country to my new job. But what brought all this back to me today, was the similarities between that last month and what I'm feeling now.
See, until a year ago, I was setting down roots. *Fifteen* years in one place - the longest I'd lived anyplace before that was five years. And for the last month I was in Houston, I was looking forward to getting on the road, and thinking, "I'm comin' home..."
I've tried the settled life. For almost half my life, FIFTEEN BLOODY YEARS out of thirty-one (thirty-two now), I was in ONE city, and never left it for longer than a weekend.
I hated it. And I didn't know that. I got used to it, it got... *normal* to me. Living with that trapped feeling gnawing at my gut, until I didn't even notice it anymore. And then when that cage door opened, knowing I didn't have to do that any more... I'm tearing up now, remembering that relief.
Less than two weeks to go. Four and a half days of work. I can make it. I *have* to make it.
I'm comin' home.