Moving Forward

I just passed the Tunnel Hill, Georgia where the U.S. Xpress terminal is located. Geez. Has it really been eight years? Almost to the day. I got on the bus in Greenwood, South Carolina on September 9th, 1999, and came to Dalton, GA, where USX put me up in a hotel room. I still remember riding in the shuttle bus the next morning toward Tunnel Hill, wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into.
I wish I could say that it’s been all fun and games since. Sure, I have a lot of good memories. I’ve been to all 48 continental states. You don’t travel that much without experiencing a lot of memorable things.
But …
I couldn’t help thinking that my checking account is overdrawn at the moment, and that when I was passing Tunnel Hill, it sure felt like old times. Hehe.
Tomorrow is my birthday. From the way it’s looking, I don’t expect to see Kings Mountain tomorrow. All I can think about that is that some things never change. But I also reflect that this will be the last birthday that I sacrifice upon the altar of company profitability. Besides, at this point a Hostess cake and a Mountain Dew are practically my traditional birthday fare.
I wish I could say that I’m better off here near the end than I was at the beginning. But except for the bits and pieces of recording equipment that I’ve hobbled together in the past six months (wanting extra money for recording equipment was what got me into the truck in the first place), I am worse off, I believe.
When I started I had a wife. Now I don’t. When I started I had a home. Now I don’t. When I started I had more in the way of possessions. I had to give away most of it because it wouldn’t all fit into a rented storage building.
Still, however it sounds, I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had. Here at the end I find myself, finally, with all the tools I need to record with. Was it worth eight years of my life? Was it worth my marriage, my home and most of my belongings? Well … no. Of course not.
However, I would not be who I am today without the past eight years. As a writer all that traveling was invaluable. I’ve seen enough interesting places and characters to fill a dozen books.
My most prized possession is my Alembic bass. If you look up the word “alembic” it is defined as “a process that distills or purifies”. I feel like I have been through such a process. I have been reduced or refined down to my basic essence. However painful the process, I am the better for it. There’s nothing wrong with looking back. Just as long as you don’t let it keep you from moving forward.
Through the remarkable graces of my favorite partner in crime, next month I’m moving to St. Petersburg, Florida. Ostensibly my purpose there will be to write and make music. To finish the innumerable projects that have tortured me. And I have been given the opportunity to do so by an amazing woman who wants nothing more but to see me with my toes scrunched in the sand, the surf lapping at my ankles and a smile upon my face. All that was before is gone. Were it not, I would never have found the courage to take this step. I, thus refined, have found myself in a good place in my life.
However I may look back, I am grateful for this incredible opportunity to move forward. Somehow I feel like all my days have been leading up to this moment. It’s what comes next that they will remember.

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