I got halfway to the train today before realizing that I’d forgotten my bag at home. On the walk back to retrieve it, I took a different route and basked in the sunshine. It was one of those warm early spring afternoons that is probably foggy on the western side of the city, but the Mission was nearly balmy. All the walking gave me ample time to think.
My mind went to 2007, when I considered heading to California. I was ready to leave Chicago, but I was also scared of making such a large and literal move. I spent a lot of time going over what-if scenarios — what if I don’t like it, what if I don’t make friends, etc. Eventually I thought, “Well, if that happens, then I can always move back.” Fear — at least the worry we dream up for ourselves, anyway — is actually an easy demon to slay.
Anyway, when the furniture was sold and the Chicago days were dwindling, I specifically remember thinking, “I will always remember this time as a point when I knew my life was going to change in a big way.” I love those moments. Like when Jesse and I stared upward on a summer night, I knew I’d remember that as one of the best scenes of our friendship.
Sometimes you can identify your life’s turning points as they happen: graduation, first job, moving to a new city, having children. Other times, it takes time to look back and realize how some of the most meaningful things start out unassumingly. I think of listening to Fifteen records (actual records!) with Trevor in 1996, for instance, and how it was impossible back then to know what a close friend he’d become.
Today I’m again at a fork in the road, and I am dropping the compass in the dirt. It is scary and exciting at the same time. (Two roads diverge! Captain of my soul! Choose your own adventure! Other highfalutin literary allusions!) But for now, it’s time to lace up my orthopedic dancing shoes.