From there to here…

Twenty years ago today, at about 8:00 in the morning, I walked into Shoney’s in Petersburg, Virginia having no idea what to expect. Three weeks earlier, I had celebrated Christmas by walking away from my still poppin’ fresh teaching career in the middle of the school year. Between getting my old condo ready to rent, the U-Haul expense, and setting up housekeeping in a new apartment, I was lucky to scrape together enough spare change to be flush enough to order breakfast somewhere so fancy. It was a starving time – the flattest of flat broke I’ve been as an adult before or since.

With that career turning 20 today, it’s been hard not to linger on where it’s taken me – from Petersburg and Richmond, to the Columbia River gorge and The Dalles, Honolulu, DC, Memphis, and finally back home to Maryland and the shores of the Chesapeake. I’ve met some absolutely brilliant minds and more than a few complete and utter shits. A few of the former, I’m lucky to consider dear friends. The latter are unavoidable no matter how hard you try.

No matter where the geography took me, it’s always been a job – the thing I do to pay the bills and afford to do all the other stuff. That’s ruffled the feathers of the true believers whose paths I’ve crossed. It cost me a few points here and there and maybe made me more than one low key enemy… but I have very few regrets. I’ll bitch about Uncle’s batshit crazy, incredibly frustrating, and outmoded way of doing things until the day I die, but it’s been a good living and it’s given me the opportunity to build a good life with not too many compromises. That ain’t nothing.

I’m just a bit shy of 2/3 of the way through this unexpected career of mine. With 20 down and 12 to go, I do find my thoughts turning a lot more frequently to its end than I do to its beginning. It’s nice, though, this one time a year, to sit down and think about the truly bizarre series of events and decisions that led me from there to here.

33: The Year in Review…

The last 365 days won’t go down as my best year, but it’ll be up there near the top of the list. In case you haven’t been reading along for the last year, here’s the retrospective in 60 words or less: Escaped the inmate running the asylum, Moved back to Maryland, Fought with landlord, Had his Explorer towed, Started a new job, Shopped tax free in Delaware, Ate more steamed crabs in one year than in the last six, Wrecked the truck (twice), Rediscovered Atlantic City, Reconnected with old friends, Got serious about writing, Got a year older and more curmudgeonly.

So as my “early thirties” slide quietly under the stern, I’m comfortable officially designating it not a bad year. Forecast for year 34: More of the same, but with more awesome.