on the road

In the last few weeks, I’ve spent 4 nights in a hotel. 2 on a greyhound bus. Driven through 4 states, run a half marathon and danced on more than a few desks.

I had lunch with friends from high school, ate my weight in Mexican food with my sister-in-law, had dinner with old college friends, snuck in time with some old camp friends, and went to prom and danced my face off with some new ones.

Alone time is rare for me, but for the last two weeks I have had almost more of it than I know what to do with. I got to run whenever I wanted. Sleep in the middle of the bed. Pick the TV channel. Which are all great. But the best part was that I finally remembered.

I remembered who I was and more importantly who I want to be.

Lately I have had a long stretch of forgetting. Forgetting what I’m good at. What I value. What I don’t. What is worth it. And what isn’t. I lost my debit card in Birmingham, left a pair of yoga pants in Austin, lost a lot of sleep. But found, some of the confidence that I seemed to have misplaced for months. In completely unexpected places. In unmet expectations. Gas stations. Truck stops. Trailer parks. Old abandoned factories turned into schools. Bathroom drawers and mostly over meals shared with friends. In chains. Kitchens. Parking garages and pubs.

 In Austin, I ate with one of my oldest friends and nothing about the conversation surprised me. She pressed and pushed and made me talk more than I wanted about feelings I didn’t want to face. I’m pretty sure she has been doing that since 2nd grade and I miss it. I saw one of my favorite campers and remembered that we change. We grow up. We get boring jobs and car insurance.  But what draws you to someone in the first place never goes away. And I ran a race and realized that it isn’t so much about what time you finish in, but who you finish with. In Atlanta, I caught up with a friend who is living the life that I mostly just read about. One of living simply, intentionally and in community. I left with new books to read, but also pushed to live out more of what I read. I got to do one of my most favorite things. Run and get lost in a new city. In the rain. I spend days with people reminding me of what I love most about my job. And getting me fired up to be better at it.

And I had a good long bus ride home to thing about these things.
That doing hard things, comes from hard work.
That passion is more important than a clean desk or graded papers.
And passion is easy to squelch. That you have to protect it. And that it is worth it.
That walking away just isn’t me.
That I still have a long way to go. And speaking of long way…next time I am flying.
That moving up isn’t always the goal.
That sometimes more is just more. And I want less of it.
That I’m not a good dancer, but that isn’t going to stop me from tearing up the dance floor.

And most of all, that I was ready to be home.