Thursday, November 3, 2011
I was going to write about the book this time, but I find concentration difficult in that direction. I’m too caught up with the move, I guess.
Today (Thursday) is my last day in Anchorage with my car. My buddy Robert is driving my car from Anchorage to Portland, and I’ll meet up with him on Tuesday. I’ve driven the Alaska Highway (or Alcan, as it used to be known) too many times in the last five years, and I just couldn’t face another trip through the sparsely populated Yukon Territory and northern British Columbia, Canada. It’s a beautiful drive, and I’ve driven it in the winter before. This time, however, I chose to let someone younger and more enthusiastic make the trip. Thank you, Robert!
I leave Anchorage very likely for good on Tuesday. That doesn’t mean I won’t come back to visit; I will. I still own property here. But the chance that I’ll ever return permanently seems remote right now. My goal is to spend summers here, when it’s too hot in most of the Lower 48, but that will be only a few months at a time. It’ll be a while before I’m able to arrange my life to accommodate that. Still, it’s a lovely goal, and one I will keep close in my heart. And, if I’ve learned anything, it’s to always keep an open mind about any endeavor.
That said, this feels like a new beginning in an entirely different way. Maybe it’s because I’m making a conscious choice based on desire, experience and enthusiasm. I had the same feelings when I returned to Alaska a year ago—and I don’t regret that decision for an instant. I learned too much, I changed too much, I achieved too much personally to be anything less than glad I did it. For those reasons alone, this adventure seems like the right thing to do. Add to that the practical reasons—a good job, excellent cost of living in Houston, family and friends, my familiarity with the area—and I don’t see how I can go wrong.
But the real reason that I’m excited and ready to go is the inner feeling that this time I’m leaving the past behind. I’m leaving stuff—belongings left from my marriage and things I bought when I was so sad and in such pain—but I’m also leaving that broken person who didn’t know what to do or how to survive. I’ve processed the hurt, the pain and even some of the anger (which, oddly enough, has proved to be the most difficult part for me), and come to terms with not only what happened but also my reactions—and my actions since.
I have much left to do. I’m not yet the person I want to be. But the day I leave Alaska is the day I step into the shoes of the Wendy I’m becoming. It’s the day I stop focusing on the past and look only to the future. Yes, I know I’ll stumble, and I know it won’t always be easy, but it would be worse to do it any other way.
So anybody who wants to follow along on this journey…get ready for the ride! I can’t promise how it’ll turn out, but it’s not about the destination, anyway. It’s about the journey.