When I’m in Louisville, Kentucky, on the border of southern Indiana, I see large Maple trees and gravel pathways lined with yellow patches of grass and fallen crisp leaves. A Beagle-Greyhound mix runs in front of me, sniffing at the brown speckled frog camouflaged by rocks and pebbles along the path. A man of 20, just starting out in the world, lights a cigarette nearby. And another man of 26 attempts to restrain the dog and keep her out of the way of the oncoming cyclist.
When I’m in Bethesda, Maryland, on the border of Washington, DC, I hear ambulance sirens and beeping horns of SUVs and BMWs. I sidestep an upraised brick in the sidewalk and bypass an orange cone of a construction zone, the latest in a series of luxury condo high rises. I pass by commuters listening to headphones and carrying laptop bags with their eyes glued to smart phones. I also attempt to drown out the noise of the city with my mood’s latest trend – this time dubstep. And then I move out of the way of an oncoming cyclist.
More than a year ago, I made the move from Baltimore to DC. And four years before that I made the move from Cincinnati to Baltimore. And five years prior to that, I left my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
So exactly 10 years ago, a few weeks from today, I ventured from my roots with no plans to return. Of my two brothers and various family members, I have so far been the only one to do so (not including those who left before me). But what I didn’t realize then was what I would be giving up and what I would never be able to have again: a home. Continue reading
More than a week ago, I was in Louisville, Kentucky for my 10-year high school reunion. In addition to that, I spent a wonderful extended weekend with family and friends celebrating birthdays and life’s successes. And all of this while sleeping on a cot (because like myself, my parents do not waste space — as soon as I left for college my old bedroom was turned into a bedroom for my brothers and then an office for my parents).
And although I may complain every time I visit about the sleeping accommodations and the fact that I lay exposed in the living or dining room, I am secretly proud of my parents for not keeping my bedroom as a shrine, for making the most of what they have.
But since that weekend, I have endured countless awful days of stress and anxiety. And I sank into a small depressive hole, questioning what I was doing with my life and why my personal and professional lives could not co-exist in the same city.
That is until I learned one of my best friends was almost beaten to death on his bike over a cell phone. Suddenly my questions about a meaningful existence seemed irrelevant. Because all that mattered is that my best friend made it out okay. All that mattered was that someone I loved would survive this tragedy without too much scarring. Continue reading
Ten years ago one of my best friends from high school and I created a time capsule. Last year as I was going through boxed things at my parents’ house in Louisville, Kentucky, I came across an envelope with “June 17, 2015” written on the front. I took it back with me to DC.
But I was nervous to discover what my 18-year-old self thought my future would hold. So as I went running this morning, I reflected on how 10 years ago I was with my best friend sitting on a bench near the park by her apartment complex and writing down our lives. We wrote about what we thought mattered most and what we thought we wanted to preserve for our 28-year-old selves.
So when I returned from my run, I turned the envelope over in my hands, but I couldn’t open it. Did I think I would be married by now? Did I think I would have that bestselling novel? Did I think I would be living in some foreign country? I decided it would be best to wait to open the envelope until the end of the day when I could have a glass of wine in hand and sleep on it if need be.
Twelve hours later, I opened that envelope and the first thing I read made me cry. At the top of the piece of loose-leaf above Time Capsule (because even at 18, I was an organized freak), I had written the following (in what seemed like a last minute addition):
What I Need to Remember: Love Is Real.