Nineteen years ago yesterday I stepped off a train in Union Station Washington DC. I left my soul behind on a platform in CA three days earlier. On that platform were two women I loved. I was leaving one and running from the other. To this day I am not sure which was which. I had hurt both of them very badly. One of those women nearly cost me my life. The other one I probably owe my life to.
There were several friends there that day that I had known for many years. There was also two of my four personal heroes that I had literally known my entire life (they also had a hand in saving me).
I had not laughed in months when I got on that train.
I spent three days on the rails going from one coast to the other. Almost everything I owned was in my duffel bag and the three footlockers somewhere in the cargo car. I was a heavy smoker to begin with, but probably went through a carton of cigarettes on that journey as there was not much else to do.
I had $200 in my pocket and a place to stay in VA with my folks (my other two heroes).
I got lucky. Very lucky. In VA I fell into a job that quickly led to a career that I love. I met some great friends that were kind enough to keep me around even though I was not their equal (and I am still not). I got to work with/for a lot of people that I still talk to (at least on FB) and a couple of them are at the almost hero status.
Leaving CA was *without*a*doubt* the most difficult decision I have ever made and probably the second smartest one. There have definitely been a lot of rough times since, but I have never regretted leaving CA.
Since leaving, I have been exposed to alternative lifestyles, bad diners, good food, scary metro riders, 256bit encryption, hackers, slackers, fast cars, inflatable sheep, government bureaucracy, girls that needed to have "psycho" put in front of their names, HOV lanes, fall colours, and all of it inside the Capital Beltway.
I have learned how to dance, code, script, cook, write, work, build, roller blade, file a restraining order, brew beer, and second most importantly, I learned to laugh again.
I have been blessed. I did not expect this to be this long. I am not sure I knew I had this much to say about it.