it was about a year ago or so i’d say. if you didn’t know me, you wouldn’t think anything of that statement and would just think i’m guessing a estimated time. but if you know me, you know better. you know i know the date. it was a year ago yesterday.
i’ve always had this thing with dates. i remember just about every birthday that’s been, at some point in my life, significant to me. i remember the dates of anniversaries; my parents anniversary, random dates that have meant something to me, dates of getting hired at dream jobs. i remember the dates of first kisses. i remember dates of bad days and good days and dates when it all changed for me. this is one of those times. i remember timestamps, moments, glances, blurs of weekend memories, and watching it fade in my driver side mirror the morning of may 6, 2012.
it was a sunday. i stood there in my two story apartment in greensboro, north carolina in an empty bedroom. there were no longer pictures of friends on the walls. my neutral color artwork no longer hung over where the bed used to be. you could see the remains of where they once hung. there were memories of me all over that room. there were memories of me all over that city. i remember standing in the doorway and the sun that showed its face from the open upstairs windows was lighting up the room. mom yelled up the stairs is that all? ... i took a deep breath. yeah, i said while i closed the door. that’s all.
...flash back about three months prior. i was out a bar. it was the bar we always went to seeing the same faces we always saw. i was wearing some dress and boots i bought to try and distract my thoughts of whatever was bouncing around in my head. i remember the green walls of the bar and the same dj that spun the same tunes every friday and saturday nights and the same florescent lights and the same bouncer was always at the door. he’d seen me there so many times he didn’t bother checking my i.d. anymore. i remember standing there not even drinking and not even having fun. i was swaying to some song that was popular at the time, mouthing the words almost like i only existed there physically and my mind was chasing my heart that was somewhere miles down the road. why was i even out? i remember thinking there had to be more to life. i knew i wanted to go.
the city i wanted to start a new life in was very dependent on how little the number of people i knew that lived there. one of my closest friends had just moved to charlotte, north carolina and i think i knew two other people there. outside of 3 people in a whole city, the rest of the population there didn’t know me or my story or where i’ve been or who i was. they would only know the amanda they would meet. so that was that. in february 2012 i decided to leave everything I've ever known for the unknown. and i was terrified.
i had to quit my job i loved and find a new place. i had to find roommates and bedroom furniture and friends and learn my way around a place i’d only visited a few times in my life, but when you’re determined to make a change for the better, you’ll do anything to make it happen. a friend from college let me know she needed someone to live with so i signed a lease an extra hour and a half further away from my parents without a job. i’m a christian and i believe in the power of prayer and God providing for you because Lord knows i prayed and prayed for the right job, but i knew if it didn’t fall into my lap when i first moved, i would waitress wherever i needed to, to make ends meet until it did. God provided for me and blessed me with a job i love before i even left greensboro. the house and the job fell into place so effortlessly i knew this was where i needed to be. it’s possible y'all.
a lot of you are graduating and probably can relate to this. your whole life is changing and it’s happening so fast and you just want time to slow down. i’ve been there. but if you’re anything like me, you strive for the fast life and the thrill of it all strikes you hard and you live for that feeling. you’re going to be scared out of your mind – do it anyway.
so there i was a year and two days ago. my whole life was packed into two cars and a trailer; moving on and letting myself fall apart. letting everything that had defined me, shaped me, broke me down, lifted me up –letting it all drift somewhere in the breeze so i could rebuild myself the way i wanted to be all along. the lights of greensboro got smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror as i told it goodbye for the last time. oddly enough so did all of the people and the regret that came with it. funny how that happened.
a year ago yesterday i opened my eyes to a new life filled with exciting things to do and people to get to know and places to explore and beers to be drank and wednesday dates to be taken on and bars with lifesized jenga to be discovered and i felt free. i didn’t know that within the next year i’d pick up yoga or running again or meet and hear all the stories i’ve gotten to. i think it takes not knowing what you want at all and running with it that leads you where you’re meant to end up.
this past weekend on may 3rd i was headed home for a wedding – the one i blogged about a couple months ago. i have to pass by the greensboro exits on i85 north to get to roxboro, nc. i decided to stop by the city early that morning and see the people who hired me into my career; the only thing i miss about greensboro. it was weird. a year almost to the day i left, i returned. the road names were the same. the uncg water tower still stood tall. the light at the intersection of lee street and aycock street still took forever to turn green. i didn’t drive by most places i used to visit because i really had no interest, but the road i did take downtown where i used to work – it all was the same. there’s a winding curvy exit that leads you down to market street which heads into downtown greensboro that i used to take every morning going to work. it was still there. and the merging lane is still so short it will give you a heart attack to make sure you don’t run someone off the road. it was like i never left for a split second and there i was existing again where i lived and was comfortable for over 6 years. memories came back. some good. some bad. but all reminded me why i left and why it was hands down the best thing i ever did for myself. because i, too, was scared – but did it anyway.
coming back from roxboro, i pass the interstate split you see below.
to the left i85 south towards charlotte. to the right i40 west towards greensboro. thousands of people pass through this split every day without giving it second thought, going on about their day and their lives. but this split means everything to me – it represents where i was and where i’m going. old and new. and every time i choose the left lane towards charlotte now i’m reminded of the day i left. i had no clue what would happen or where i was going to end up.
there was only thing i knew for sure and that was i wasn't going back.
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