The In Between
I stared at the blank space. Six pieces of 8x11 white printer paper, hastily taped together. Freshly sharpened colored pencils, scattered across the page. Light, everywhere. Unwashed hair. Third cup of coffee. Some kind of wild, desperate look in my eyes. It was close to noon, and I was alone. I sat frozen, cross-legged on my living room floor.
I was trying to figure out my life.
It had been three months since my five year relationship had come to an end. My apartment lease was going to expire in two months. The two bedroom, two bath apartment I had grown to love was furnished with all the things of my former life; couches and tables we had picked out and assembled together. Matching dishes, framed photos on the wall. The California King bed that seemed like an ocean now that I was alone. I had to decide. To stay, or to go.
The apartment was too big for me. The rent was too big, too. Signing another year lease would chain me, in a way. To monthly rent payments. Utilities. And the biggest cost of all - turning down travel simply for the fact that I felt an obligation to spend time in this place that was costing me so much. It was my haven, and also my prison.
I wasn’t ready to commit. Leaving my current apartment meant finding a new one. Packing up and selling stuff I loved; finding and applying for a new place. Changing all the things, refurnishing the new space. I loved Issaquah, but most of my friends were up north. Was I ready to relocate yet again? What would that mean, and what would it cost. I decided to pour more coffee.
I wanted to travel. By car, by train, by plane. I was craving experience. Untethered, raw moments that would force me to grow. I considered putting my things in storage and basing out of Florida, where my Mom owns a condo. From there I could actually use my airline benefits and travel the world for next to nothing. But, I wouldn’t have a car. I would be far from my community. I would be on the opposite end of the country. Or, I could buy a van. Something I had always wanted to do but never actually looked into.
I set down the cup of coffee onto the still empty sheet of paper, and a brown coffee ring began to form. There. Step one. Abandon perfection. I picked up a blue colored pencil and drew a stick figure in the bottom left corner. Me. I closed my eyes and asked myself…what did I want? I mean, what did I really want?
In the far top right corner, I timidly began to draw. A treehouse, surrounded by mountains. The ocean. An adventure vehicle parked below. A dog. Freedom. Friends. Someone to share it all with. I felt like a kid again, dreaming up my own perfectly imperfect life. And then, I stared at all the white space in between.
The in between. The space between all that was real and what was still only a dream. I began drawing again. Writing. Imagining. Thinking. I illustrated every potential path I was considering, and what that might look like. I listed my greatest loves and closest friends in colored pencils. I wondered how many of them know just how much they really mean to me. I brewed another cup of coffee.
At the end of it, I knew what I had to do. I had to take the path that scared me most, the one that made the least sense. The one that would inspire greatest resistance. Because, it was the one that offered the greatest reward. It was the path I would be proud to walk in both failure and success. It was the one I wanted most.
A life untethered, life on the road.