Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The end of an era.

I graduated from college seven years ago. When I started there four years before, I thought I'd become a politician and work on Capitol Hill. I didn't, and I'm not. And my career is one that, at the time, I honestly never imagined I'd pursue.

In the intervening years, I've taken a lot of steps I never thought I would. At the time, each one was terrifyingly, breathtakingly, horrifyingly scary. (Perhaps you've noticed my tendency to panic... If I am anything, I am consistent. ) And in hindsight, each one was absolutely right.

_ I picked up and packed up moved to strange new cities. Over. And over. And over again, starting out with a fresh slate, each time.
_ I made Chicago my home, even thought the city practically (and for reasons I can't comprehend now) paralyzed me with fear.
_ I bought a condo. The day I closed, I handed someone the largest check I'd ever drawn. My hand shook though each signature at the closing, straight until they handed me the keys.
_ I lived with someone and started planning a life together.
_ I ended it.

And today, I took another step. This one isn't as fundamentally life changing as the others, but that didn't keep me from having that familiar crushing feeling of panic and self-doubt in my chest.

At exactly 5:46 this afternoon, for the first time in 11 years, I handed over my keys, signed some papers and officially became a driver without a car. And it is both terrifying and exciting, panic-inducing and liberating.

On the bus ride back from the dealership, I played with my demonstrably lighter key chain and thought about all the things I never thought I'd do. And how my life today is so, so, SO different from what I thought it would be. And you know what? I'm totally ok with that.

So, tonight, I am raising a glass and proposing a toast. Here's to anyone who's taking steps they never thought they would and being brave enough to follow through.

Cheers.

6 comments:

The Modern Gal said...

Cheers!

I think it's very important for every person to step outside their comfort zone at least every so often if not on a regular basis. How would you know what you're capable of otherwise?

And you never cease to amaze me with the way you succeed.

Melaina25 said...

I think most of us who went to GW thought we'd end up on the hill in some shape or form. I think it's good to be living a life you didn't imagine for yourself at 17/18....

Noodles said...

ModernGal: Awww, thanks, babe. I heart YOU and YOU never cease to amaze me either.

Melaina: That's for sure. And yay for us not being who we thought we would at 17. How boring would that be? :)

Sweet & Vicious said...

Congrats. Car ownership in addition to condo ownership and dog ownership...dang, you are an owning MACHINE.
Who needs a man when you can own so much stuff solo?

My life is definitely not where I thought it would be 7 years ago when I graduated from college either...but I didn't have the foresight to imagine where it would be. I see now that--THAT--was the problem.

So, I'm raising my glass to changing cities, owning cars and dogs to live life on your OWN terms.

xoxo

Angie said...

Wait, I'm confused. You bought a car, or sold your car to the dealership?
Sorry, it's been a long day.

Noodles said...

Ang,
I sold the car and am now car-less. :-)