Make today a masterpiece

Trip Start Jul 26, 2007
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Trip End Sep 26, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's almost incomprehensible to consider the fact that I've been home more than three weeks now. I've, as with many things in my life, have procrastinated long enough on my final entry in the travel blog. Although, as many of you know me, I could/usually would argue that a true description of my journey couldn't be written till its full magnitude was properly analyzed and felt.

Throughout my journey, I contemplated on how exactly I was going to sign-off on such an adventure. Was I going to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Would it be long or would it be short? How does one potentially begin to describe leaving a perfectly decent job, a wonderful family and a deep circle of friends to go in search of something new and exciting? Not to mention what life lessons I actually got from the experience... In trying not to be redundant, I will not go over the multitude of events I participated in and the sights I saw. If you're interested in that, I have 44 other entries for you to meander through (smile).

The reactions I received when talking about my impending departure included: Are you insane? This could be career suicide. Go get 'em cowgirl! I wish you the most exciting, rewarding journey. You are so going to meet a cowboy, get married and never come back (by the way - I was open to that :o). And many others that I will not render at this time.

I experienced a range of emotions from joy, sorrow, fear, like, dislikes and love. I experienced a new birth (Sofia Gray), a close call with death (my mom's stroke - she's recovering more and more each day), a friend suffering through chemo, a loss of a job (though by choice), a new home, heartache, etc. The list could go on and on.

A journey it most undoubtedly was.  One that I will NEVER forget. 

It seems like yesterday when I was at my going away party thinking "and why am I doing this?". I can't remember the last time I felt so loved and so supported by everyone in my life. Even those that questioned my antics were truly excited for me. How could two months in the mountains of Steamboat Springs, Colorado not be exciting?!

In the beginning, everything was NEW and EXCITING. There were many moments I wondered what I was doing there. Heck, there are many moments now that I ponder the same question. Did its action cause the reaction I had hoped for?

For the first time in my life, I experienced traveling and being alone. A major feat in itself. Sure, I had traveled back and forth via an airplane to friends in other states and have driven to my Dad's home in Florida, yet this was different. I was completely alone and, even though I met a ton of new people, was heading some place where I would continue to be alone. What was this feeling of being alone? I've felt alone before, but when you're looking at the vast mountains and the starry skies of Colorado it hits you that - in this "big world of ours" as a friend recently noted in his journal - you are minuscule. To some that might sound a little gloomy, but on the flip side it forces you to reflect on what it is you DO have in and around your life.

Are the people in your life uplifting? Do they push you to the next level? Are you proud of the choices and friends you've made thus far in your life? Could you have made other choices? Are the consequences of your past choices acceptable? Can you move on from them? Does there need to be a change? The list could go on...

What I found was that I did appreciate and miss my family, friends and as an extension Atlanta. While it's been a rocky, curvy road, I am proud of who I have become personally and professionally. There's no doubt I have gotten a tad bit more comfortable in my own skin over the last few months. Of course there are always areas to be honed down or completely modified. I certainly am not perfect. Thankfully, that's the beauty of what "time" has to offer. A Rabi once told me a saying that has always stuck with me and that's "what intellect and knowledge do not answer, time does."

The wheels on the bus continued to go round and round and time moved on as I stepped off the bus for a quick reflection. Friends reported back to me that life was as expected in Atlanta and that I hadn't missed out on anything. Former co-workers said they missed me, but that important committee meetings were still going on. As a single person, you can imagine those that I had been dating before I left moved on. In essence, the world and time went on. All of this I suspected would happen, but how would I contend with it?

As a friend wrote once in her blog, "the hardest part of coming home is the what now?" I am happy to report that Atlanta is home, yet it is with mixed emotions I acknowledge that I am in that "what now" stage. How will I grapple with it? What type of job am I looking for? Will I go back to school (that's pretty much a yes)? Do I want to buy a house? In what direction do I want my life to go in? All of which will be answered in time.

While others might frown on me using cliches to describe my experience, they manage to ring a bit of truth. This is not a dress rehearsal, I (you) only get one chance at this life and its time to take it seriously and have fun doing it. You never realize or appreciate to the same extent what you have till it's out of reach of your fingertips.

I believe that the most important lesson I learned from my trip is that there is a myriad of choices in life and those choices can be made at any moment, having lasting repercussions and benefits. We work with what we know in life. In a nutshell, life IS what it IS. You learn from it, make the best choice possible and move on. Period.

At the moment I am writing this, my travelblog has been viewed nearly 2,000 times. I either have a dedicated stalker (ha-ha) or there are actually a few of you interested in my journey (one that if I might add continues). I suspect the latter. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for checking in with me, the encouraging words and gentle reminder that though I felt alone on occasions, I wasn't.

May you make the best choices in life you can make, given what you know. Thank you for your friendship and God bless.

Sincerely,

Heather
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Comments

tomgriggs
tomgriggs on

Congratulations and welcome home
I read several of your blogs. Irene and I are very glad you had the courage to 'do something for yourself' as hard, scary and uncertain we are sure it was. You will benefit from this experience somehow every day for your life; it may not be obvious to you but it will still be there.

Glad to hear that your Mom is doing better also. Please give her our best wishes.

See you soon. Maybe in Athens later this fall.

Your friends - Irene and Tom

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