Chapter 4: Rural Life, Interrupted

I grew up in a pretty rural part of Connecticut.  When a lot of people imagine Connecticut, they think of the place New Yorkers go to escape the city for weekends, or Yale, or if they're the historically-inclined types, the Revolutionary War.  A lot of modern Connecticut is just farmland with houses few and far between.  Believe it or not, you see your fair share of cowboy boots in the Nutmeg State. I knew how to drive a ride-on lawn mower, tend chickens, can tomatoes, and mulch a garden way before I knew how to use the Internet.

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This look takes me right back.  When I was a kid, my neighbors across the street had horses and cows. Growing up, I liked all the farm stuff, but I was really, really curious about what else there was to life, and I packed up and headed West as soon as the college acceptance letter came in the mail.

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I was kind of surprised about what a rough transition it was.  I thought I would love living in Northern California, but I was only eighteen and I was kind of overwhelmed.  I moved from the third smallest to the third biggest state in the country and I really, really felt it. I felt very small and more than a little bit worried.

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I remember calling my mother and telling her that I had made a big mistake to move so far away on my own.  She told me it was much too soon to be sure, and that I should wait out the year, and at that point, she would be ready to open the conversation again and help me decide where I really wanted to stay.

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The year wore on, and I made lots of friends. I loved my classes. I met the person who would become my husband (and later ex-husband, because some seasons come to pass). I figured out who I wanted to be.  And when my mother called me at the year's end to ask me what I wanted to do next, I could not believe I had nearly thrown in the towel so early in the game.

And so I stayed, and now have lived as many years here as I lived in Connecticut. Time only passes more quickly as the years march on. The places we come from are fated, and they leave an indelible mark on us. In some ways, the places we choose to go are much scarier, but they are also what gives life it's dimensions. With the right mindset, we all get exactly where we need to go.