I don't think it truly hit me until I was driving to work this afternoon. I felt a lump in my throat and a sort of queasiness in my stomach as I sped along the highway, driving my car of the past 10 years for the last time. That's what it took, I guess, for it to finally hit home. All the packing, all the saying goodbye and receiving of well-wishers, none of that made all this seem as real to me as driving that car for what I knew was the last time.
I'm moving to Boston. I'm really doing this. It went from being an abstract number, some far off date that never seemed to get any closer, to this, to leaving Omaha on Wednesday. This Wednesday. Three days until my boxes are stuffed in my sister's minivan and my parents and I are on the road.
Some days I don't even know why I'm doing this. Boston. Grad school. I doubt my abilities. I doubt my readiness. I wake up every morning half expecting an email from the school in my inbox, explaining it was all a mix-up and they've withdrawn my acceptance. I mean, come on, what could I possibly have to offer that school? And what do they have to offer me, aside from an express lane to even more debt. I don't even know what I want to do with my life, but I'm moving to Boston anyway.
It's been a while since I've been wracked with such doubt. Five years since I moved to California. Four years since I moved back to Omaha. Now that I'm leaving again, this most recent stint in Omaha feels like it's all gone past in a blur. Trying to get a handle on my depression, starting to take classes again, first at Metro and then at UNO. The Dean's List. A kidney stone. An internship in Los Angeles. Graduation. Helping to make a movie.
All the boxes around the house remind me of returning from California, tail tucked between my legs, totally and completely lost. It feels like it was such a short time ago. Has it really been four years? Have I changed over those years? Have I grown up at all? I've seen friends get married and have kids. Careers. Even divorced. And I look in the mirror and see the same schmucky kid who ran off to Ohio for his first year of college. I found my ID recently. My first college ID. Who knew I still had it, or why. But I sat there, looking at this kid, trying to remember what it felt like to be him. And I can't.
And now, 12 years later, I'm once again running off to another city, another school. My undergrad finished, but my life still stuck in neutral. No matter where I go I'll be there. And I've yet to figure out if that's really such a good thing. Not like I have a choice, of course. I'm rather stuck with me. I just don't know which me I am these days. What am I bringing with me to Boston? Who am I bringing? Who will I be once I get there?
All of this hit me today as I was driving my car for the last time. That car had taken me to Chicago and Minneapolis, to Denver and Los Angeles and San Francisco. But not Boston. Boston. A clean slate. Not a do-over, but a moving-on. Moving on to what, I've no idea. But when I'm not stifled by panic, fear or doubt, I'm anxious and excited to find out.