Jessica and I spent our first evening at the ranch and then at her place catching up on over a year of events away from each other. We chatted about our day, planned for the upcoming week, and had a talk about the fallout that happened when we were last together.
We woke up the next day and ventured through my old town going to old restaurants, eating at the town’s historic ice cream parlor, and drinking in the “charming” small town bars. It wasn’t until the day after that when we found ourselves wandering through the older part of the town in and out of the places that I had fond memories of and back into time where the past was preserved.
We walked into an old antique shop filled with knickknacks and items, which in my mind didn’t really seem that old, but were covered in dust and the tinged yellow edging that develops over time.
I had realized then that I was older—my old town was older—but that I still saw the same elements of our character that made us who we were. I think that’s why, in a way, I ended up coming back to the old country town. I was heading back to the basics in order to sort of find myself again just as Natalie was attempting to do.
I also noticed then that the reason why I was a little frustrated with my situation, and with my amazing boyfriend, in the first place was because my boyfriend had done everything right, graduated from college, got into a high paying job, and then quit.
He was free from an uncertain future, he had a chance to move wherever he wanted and live life happily and stress free but he chose to come back to the situation where, I and all my other college aged friends, were into the land of the unknown. At first I couldn’t understand it, but his choice to venture off and explore other possibilities sort of started to make sense.
“‘At the end of the day, all of us, without exception, will eventually die. How we choose to live until that point is up to us. Do you really want to have regrets when you’re lying there in that casket?’” my boyfriend quoted his uncle in a blog post after his grandfather’s wake.
“‘Regret,’ [t]he one thing that all of us have that we wish we didn’t. After the wake, and well into the following weeks, I thought about my current career path and the many times I’ve looked over the fence at other things that I wanted to try. It took weeks, but I finally got the balls to do something about it. So, I took action…
…I quit my job.
I quit my software engineering position that I had for only three months. It was a super slow company with a really boring environment, but it came with nice pay and benefits. I always thought I was the guy who could be happy with that type of position. I mean, I could have easily gotten a place and started a good life with the money I was making, and probably could have stayed there a good amount of time. But when I was at the position, not a day passed where I didn’t think, ‘I feel like I’m too young to sign myself over to this safe, boring corporate life. There’s still more that I need to see and experience.’ I couldn’t just live for the weekend every week. And, I’m young; I have time on my side. So I took the plunge, gave my two weeks’ notice, and went on my merry way.
Did I go against what everyone told me to do and thought I should have done? Yes, yes I did. Do I care what others think of my decision? Nope, not in the slightest, I will admit that quitting my position was rash, [b]ut, after having 6-7 jobs before the age of 23 and feeling bored/unfulfilled in almost all of them, I’m pretty sure that I need a little change of pace. I’m still keeping my foot in the programming world with a part time position, and will fulfill my medical urge by starting an EMT class within the next couple of weeks and see where it takes me.
It took forever, but I’ve finally come to terms that I need to do what I see fit, and not go the comfortable route or do what anyone else tells me to do. Life really is too short to have those regrets, and I accept that fact.”
It sounds corny, but the whole follow your heart deal and “just see where life takes me” sort of stopped myself from having the mini panic attack that drove me away from the city hundreds of miles away out into the country side. I obviously still wanted to already be completely self-sufficient and out on my own, but I was a little more content with where I was on my journey to my ultimate goal.
Like my boyfriend, I would use this time to experience other things and live life like one of those young people, and of course still be smart about it. There will come a time when I will look back on the past and I rather not have to look back with the weight and burden of regret. I planned on slowing my mind down a bit, like the unhurried pace of my old country town, and I would live in the moment while I could.
Before I know it I would be done with my undergraduate degree and searching for a job. I would find a balance where I could still support myself and everything, but I could find something that didn’t make me want to jump off of a bridge or punch some stranger in the face every morning. And of course, I just don’t want to get into one looking back on everything with a pile of regrets.