Three days ago, I choked up looking at my roommate’s dog, Francis, gave three of my best friends hugs good-bye, and got into my car to drive 2,000 miles to Chicago.
A few weeks ago, my therapist told me that she believes the universe (or whatever) lets us know we are on the right path, gives us what we need when we need it, and helps things to fall into place when we are living into our purpose. I’m not sure I totally believe this, but I’m not sure I don’t.
I only cried once in those 2,000 miles between LA and Chicago. Three hours outside of LA I sat in standstill traffic on an entrance ramp to I-15 in the middle of the desert. I sobbed. I was overwhelmed with sadness and frustration and exhaustion and ridiculous heat. Maybe the universe (or whatever) knew I needed an outlet, knew I didn’t let myself cry easily, so it placed me in the middle of an absurd Sunday afternoon traffic jam on the way to Vegas, which is a pretty rare occurrence, to remind me its OK to lose it when big things happen, when life is too much, when the thing you are doing is huge – too huge to comprehend in the moment its happening- when you’ve left a great thing behind in the hopes that something even greater is waiting for you.
A few hours post-breakdown, I met up with my sister in Vegas, and began an oddly uneventful three day drive. We drove through seven states with not a single traffic jam. We found delicious food only 15 minutes away whenever we were hungry on the road, and each night, we found ourselves literally next door to an incredible restaurant. We stayed at Mandalay Bay, a Westin in Downtown Denver, and in the only four star hotel in the greater Des Moines area that looked like Joanna Gaines had decorated it and which had a free craft beer tasting in the lobby.
We drove alongside the Colorado river and through mountain passes. We saw the beautiful sprawling fields of farms in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois under a bright blue sky. We scored a poolside room in Iowa and spent two hours swimming and laughing together after eating ridiculously delicious fried chicken, burnt ends, and free coleslaw.
Going into our last day, there was a huge threat of severe storms across Illinois that we somehow managed to dodge like actual road trip weather ninjas, and even when we got to my parents’ house, the line of storms sort of swerved past their neighborhood, while my mom and I watched The Bachelorette and cooked a steak for dinner.
If that first day traffic jam was telling me it was OK to cry over what I left behind, maybe the rest of my drive was telling me, hey – you made a good decision. The road ahead looks good.