When I was thirty years old, my life was a mess. There were things I wanted to do that I almost never did: read, write, and exercise were a couple of the big ones. However, I did other things that I didn’t want to do: drank a lot of alcohol, stayed out half the night, and watched a lot of television, primarily sports. I felt like I was wasting my life and stuck in some destructive cycles. No matter how many promises I made to myself that I would change, I didn’t seem to be able to break my bad habits.
Among the actions I took to try and change my life was that I moved 700 or so miles to the southeast of where I was living in Indiana to Charlotte, North Carolina. My move filled me with mental and physical energy to explore: I hiked the mountains around Asheville, I went rafting, I drove to the Outer Banks, and I enrolled in graduate school. Beyond that, I went out of my way to avoid routine and instead try new things: I hung out in bookstores and I went to live acoustic shows to hear artists of whom I’d never heard. I tried to run both literal and figurative new paths each week.
Life got better. I did what I intended to do, but I also began to think about all that I had not done back in Indiana. I realized it was in my nature (a lot of our natures?) to go on vacation and explore, but I was apt to stay put in my routines and the places I knew when I was at home. I’d been to Honolulu with the basketball team and trekked all over the island to be sure that I wouldn’t miss anything, but back home in Indiana, I had never even been up to Lake Michigan to spend the day at the sand dunes. Thinking back on those experiences, I’m determined to try and get out with my family to see the places near where I live.