What giant step did you take where you hoped your leg wouldn’t break? Was it worth it, were you successful in walking on the moon, or did your leg break?
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Photograph by Susan Reed
The town where I grew up was all I had really known for the first 23 years of my life. A lot of times, it seemed like I lived in a fish bowl. I felt that that was all I was supposed to know and should be content with that reality. I remember one time when I was in high school and was on the Student Council and National Honor Society. We were given the option of going to Nashville to see an adaption of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.
The catch was that we had to get up incredibly early because we lived just north of Nashville. I lived very close to the high school (just one house over) so I could afford to sleep in just a bit longer. That is, if I wanted. I didn’t want to sleep in because I was so nervous, excited, and could taste the anticipation of leaving that small town. I wasn’t alone but, in a way, it was a step towards what I knew existed outside of this world. Outside of my fish bowl. My dad, bless him, didn’t want me to go. He pleaded and attempted to bribe me with anything I wanted, just so long as I changed my mind and didn’t go. I didn’t accept the bribes and took the risk.
There was a small incident on I-40 going where one of the buses had went into a ditch. They were fine and got back on the road. We kept moving along to see that play in Nashville. No one was hurt but it said a lot to me.
Even if you get side tracked for a moment, you have to keep pressing on.
Over the next few years, I wanted to see more of the world. I had to because even though my fish bowl was pretty and had everything I needed, I still wanted more. I visited so many places and the moments before always were identical to that morning in my driveway. My dad pleading with me not to go to Mississippi to see a friend because you never know what could happen. Don’t go to Dallas for the weekend because, “Who knows what could happen in that big city?”
You see, that’s the point. I don’t know what could happen. I wanted to know. I wanted to take that chance and consequences be damned.
So, when I met my now husband in Jackson, TN way back in 2005 everything changed. My fish bowl was no longer needed. We dated and talked over the phone every day. I wanted to be with him. He lives in a town about an hour north of Nashville in Kentucky. I would be a long way from that small town in West Tennessee if I chose to move.
Over two hundred miles away.
Some say I was running away. Some say I don’t know what I was doing.
I knew exactly what I was doing that night. I had put my notice in at Kroger and left overnight. As soon as my shift was over, car loaded with my old 2003 Dell Computer and clothes, I left at 10 o’clock that night. If I didn’t leave the way I did, I knew someone would try to talk me out of leaving. I love my husband and we have since gotten married. We will be celebrating our 6th Wedding Anniversary in April.
I remember seeing the moon that night, guiding me to my new home with Gary. It guided me on so many of my adventures: the early morning moon so long ago, the one traveling out West.
All of this is not to say everything is perfect in my world. It’s so very far from it. We have overcome numerous obstacles. We broke up for a few months at one point in 2007 but we got back together.
So, do I have any regrets?
While I do miss my family and friends at times, I don’t regret one moment spent with Gary. Even the tears and heartbreak.
We’re now talking about the possibility of moving to Illinois in the future. I’m not afraid because what’s the point of being afraid of change? You take a risk with that change and it helps you grow as a person. Our planet is so vast. What’s the point in neglecting it when we have such a short time here?
In other words: If you stay confined in the fish bowl all of your life, you’re going to miss the ocean.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Written in response to the Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon