Distance

I’m currently reading a pretty good book, “In the Court of the Lion” by Eleanor Cooney and Daniel Altieri. In it one of the characters states that another character “has distance in his life”. This little statement really struck a cord with me as I instantly recognized myself as having distance in my life.

I can see this concept going two ways. The first would be someone who is mentally distant. I think we’ve all encountered these “distant” people. They seem disengaged. They aren’t really attached to anyone or anything. Perhaps they lack passion in their lives. I think all people have these moments of being or feeling distant. There are times when we feel a certain level of detachment and want to be distant from someone, something, or some situation. Although I of course have these moments, this idea of mental distance isn’t what grabbed me.

What spoke to me was the idea of physical distance. This I have a lot of in my life, as I tend to be a wanderer. I have traveled many distances and have put much physical distance between myself and the people and places that I love. My wanderlust began when I was sixteen and made the choice to leave home to go to a performing arts boarding school.  In the twenty years that followed I’ve lived in seven states, nine cities, and sixteen different residences. And those seven states are not neighboring states, there’s a lot of distance between them.

All this distance has given me so many crazy experiences, and has allowed me to form strong bonds with amazing people. But the distance has separated me from them and from my family. The connections hold firm in my heart and I am in contact with these special people, but I have to travel great distances to be with them.

Having a lot of distance in my life has allowed me to find some magical places here in the United States. Usually the magic comes unexpectedly, that is, I don’t think of certain places as being magical until I have lived there and experienced it for myself. My top three magical places may surprise you. Arizona tops the list, followed by Wyoming and East Texas.  Yes, East Texas. Surprised? And I would have never found the magic without living there. The East Texas magic lives in the trees and the green, in the heat and humidity, in the bayous and alligators, and in the amazing people I have met.

Distance in my life also takes the form of massive driving expeditions, many of which have been solo ventures. I love the open road. I have driven the entire coast of the United States and I have driven right down the middle a few times. My brother and I have forged a tight bond traveling almost 20,000 miles together in a sport truck, no king cab. Tackling the distance calls to me. Doing a 10,000-mile road trip teaches me things, frees my heart, and once again highlights the distance in my life.

I have physical distance in my life, but it has made me the person I am today.  I am not afraid to live in different places and pick up and move at the drop of a hat. However, that is in the process of changing. I am now feeling the urge to stay in one place for a while and grow some roots. Surprising to me, my roots are growing into East Texas. I never thought in a million years that this is where I’d end up, but there is a reason that I was drawn to this place, and I have lived it’s magic.

There is no question in my mind that people either have distance in their lives or prefer to stick close to someplace and grow roots. To the root people I have to say that I am excited to try this lifestyle out. I am very happy where I am and am well on my way to carving out my niche. To the distance people I say keep rolling. I understand the call of different places and the desire to find out what’s around the next bend in the road. Having distance in one’s life does come at the cost of not having family close by. My family ties have had to survive this for many years… but maybe the distance actually holds us together. All in all, I’ve made my choices and these choices have made me, me. The experiences gained by having distance in my life are profound and I wouldn’t change them for the world. Really I have no choice but to accept and embrace the distance.

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