I was a Highwayman — August 13th, T-Minus 2 Days

I had written a rather insightful blog about two weeks ago and I accidentally deleted it…without it being saved anywhere. Pain. In. The. Arss.

Suddenly, I find myself on deck. I’m two days away from the biggest move I’ve ever made in my life. Sure, I moved away to App State my freshman year of college, but this move means so much more. Not only am I leaving for another state, but I am attending a program that will undoubtedly offer me marginal free time. My visits home will not be like those leisure ones taken in undergrad, but rather ones out of shear necessity. Holidays will suddenly hold new meaning. I’m pretty sure my first visit home will be over Christmas. I heard Thanksgiving is just too rushed to try and make it a visit. It isn’t nearly as daunting as I thought, but I do think it’s dawning on my friends, the people that genuinely enjoy seeing me. They’re starting to realize more and more that I will not be there to watch all the primetime shows on DVR, or any number of movies, or even make my infamous late night runs to Quicktrip. This is all ending. On top of that, unlike undergrad, school is no longer a waiting game to move back home. This decision embodies so much more. My completion of this program will most likely usher me into another move, probably out West. As cheesy as it sounds, starting Friday, everything is uncharted.

About 3 weeks ago, I celebrated my 25th birthday. My friends threw me the party I had been wanting to have since I was 14: Non-stop dancing and jubilation deep into the night. Everyone dressed up, most everyone showed up, and it dawned on me as the night went on just how fortunate I am to have such a supportive number of people in my orbit. Unexpectedly, people signed a giant poster board with well-wishes and aphorisms. This poster will travel with me to every room I inhabit. This poster board represents my life’s work, my return on an investment. I was so humbled by the enthusiasm to attend “Mike’s Party.” Maybe it was my bodacious bod, maybe it was something to do on a Saturday night, maybe it was the excessive amount of free alcohol. Regardless, this event showed me that people cared enough to simply show up and give me a hug. For that, I can never be too grateful.

I had a brief conversation at the party with people who said their 25th birthdays had scared them, that they cried when they realized just how old they had become. I’ll admit, 25 holds a weight that no other age has for me before. The feeling I gather from it, though, is not one of anxiety or hopelessness, but actually a feeling of the complete opposite. With my teens well in the rearview and 30 climbing the horizon, it seemed that life, my life, was now beginning. Everything up to this point was foundation, infrastructure, drills. Up to now, I was instructed to carry a shield to protect me from pitfalls and thorns along the path. To me, the path has ended.

I stand at the tree line where there is no path. It’s time to put down the shield. It has served its purpose. Forgive my nerdy adolescent metaphor here, but my weapon is now a sword. It’s time to clear my own path. This path isn’t laid out before me. There aren’t guides or road signs. That phase of my life is over. This is where everyone hears a specific call, one meant only for them. You can’t see it, but you step off the road and into the woods to cut the most direct course you can toward that sound. No more crowded childhood highways. This road is your own.

What I look forward to is what the mysteries of the woods will reveal. Whose path will cross mine? Whose life will suddenly coincide with mine? Who will orbit in and who will orbit out? I’ll take comfort in being able to look through the brush and see others clearing away their own decisions, moving toward their own goals. For the first time, I feel as though acting my age isn’t really acting at all. I won’t be “acting mature” or “acting like and adult,” I’ll be 25, and that’s how a 25 year old should be.

So, here it is- my last few hours on autopilot. No more working a job because I’m waiting to find something. No more idle talk with friends about how awesome an idea “could” be. No more excuses. From here on out, I will be graded based on my results. At this age, there is no one to blame but yourself. If you think you hear a call, I suggest you follow it. Think of it this way: You’re always going to hear it. There is no going backwards. You might try and drown it out with distractions, but deep down, you know what direction you should be going. If you’re standing on the edge of the woods, tie your shoes, pop your neck, and grab that sword. The hardest step to take it always the first one. If you start now, we can meet up a little ways into the woods for smores.

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2 Responses to “I was a Highwayman — August 13th, T-Minus 2 Days”

  1. Nice post.Keep up with the good information!

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  2. I’m sure going to miss you, Mike.

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