Last week, I took a trip home to Indiana to visit some old friends and family. It had been 18 months since I’ve been back, and I was really looking forward to it.
I had three big things on my to-do list during my six-day trip: 1. Honor my friend Cheryl by participating in a Crohn’s Walk with my mom, 2. Get answers for a romantic relationship in-question, and 3. Visit my friend and her son.
Item #1 happened basically as planned, although there seems to always be secrecy and planning that happens behind my back and then – SURPRISE! – I arrive and it’s not what I thought it would be. Whatever.
Item #2 is a toughie. You see, I have had a little bit of a crush on this person for, well, half of my life. I am really lucky to call him my friend, first, but I know things were starting to inch toward the gray area and I needed to know where we were headed.
Long-distance relationships are difficult, and I have no intentions of getting involved in one unless there was a clear means to an end. One thing I wanted to know was if he planned on staying in Indiana forever.
If so, that would be something I’d have to seriously consider: would I move back to give this thing a chance? I’m happy to report we talked about this right away. I’m not-so-happy to report that his answer was yes, he’ll be staying in Indiana foreevvverrrrrr. Ouch.
Now let me say this, I’m definitely not married to the idea of staying in Austin, Texas forever. In fact, I’m already considering my next move. But I know I’m not equipped to move back to Indiana. I haven’t done all I need to do!
There were other wrenches thrown into the mix as the week progressed – things that showed me, clearly, a romantic future is just not in the cards for me and this guy. I don’t want to say much more than that; I do hope he’ll still be my friend for years to come.
It’s sad, in fact I’m still pretty bummed out about it, but I’m glad I saw things for myself and got the answers I needed before we traveled too far down the rabbit hole.
If you’ve been reading around these parts for awhile, you know that I’m kinda (ok, really) bad at dating. I have a history of ignoring red flags and getting myself stuck in some sticky situations. So, even though this didn’t end in love this time, I have to say I’m really proud of myself for standing up and not just “going with it” when I know something doesn’t align with my values. I know what I want for myself, and I’d much rather be single than try and force something that isn’t right.
So, it’s a bittersweet win.
Now, item #3 just plain didn’t happen for reasons I’m not really sure of.
I’ll say that as much as it pains me to admit it, sometimes people just grow apart, no matter how long or deep a history they have. And maybe that has happened here.
Regardless, my heart is still hurt, and I have been on the mend (read: sleeping way too much) since my return. Loss, of any sort, isn’t easy.
Aside from those things, I spent some quality time with another friend – we got some good laughs, drank delicious wine, and we endured some interesting challenges along the way.
We joined up with some old friends from high school and I laughed until my cheeks hurt over inside jokes that possibly only we think are funny. We went to see Guster and Dispatch in concert, and there were literally fireflies dancing above us, and it was the Indiana I’ve romanticized since my departure 14 summers ago.
As I always say, Indiana will always (!) hold a special place in my heart – I went through a lot of things growing up there. But when I boarded my plan to Texas last Thursday morning, every ounce of me knew that things just weren’t quite the same. Even if Texas isn’t my forever home, I know Indiana isn’t.
I spent 12 years in Louisiana, and although it didn’t necessarily feel like “home”, I accomplished so much there, and it really shaped who I’ve become. Texas, well, hard work got me here, and it gave me a fresh start. It’s an opportunity that I still sort of can’t believe I have.
So, cheers to old friends, but also, to looking ahead, wherever that may be.