Twenty years ago I quit my job, rented out my condo, packed all my possessions and one persnickety Siamese cat into a big yellow truck, arranged for my friend Natalie to be my co-pilot, and moved to Austin to attend a graduate program that had not yet accepted me.
It was two weeks after my 30th birthday.
It was perhaps the gutsiest thing I have every done. And the best decision I ever made.
The morning after my arrival, there was the biggest thunderstorm I had ever witnessed. It was also the last time it would rain for several months (welcome to Texas weather). Two mornings after I had arrived the school called to say they were looking for me because they wanted to know if I could start in the summer instead of waiting until the fall as originally planned. “Of course,” I replied, “I’m already here.”
Twenty years ago I turned 30 and changed my life. Huge parts of it weren’t working. I wasn’t in the right place, and I knew it with every fiber of my being. I moved to Austin, where I knew one person. I settled in. I was happier than I had ever been. I made more friends than my schedule could handle. I taught adults to read. Austin taught my heart how to trust and love again.
It was one of those rare situations in life where everything fell into place and the road was smooth before me. The right part-time job was arranged before I moved. The timing of the tenant for my condo and many other details detangled themselves and lined up in perfect order. The universe was conspiring with me, to bring me to Austin.
To meet God.
In that first year in Austin, I learned that there is life in surrender. Surrender to a God who was big enough to deal with all of my crap and who loved me enough to meet me in the tiny hole of an apartment I lovingly called home and whisper a name I cannot remember but instantly recognized. God sweetened the deal by bringing a man into my life at the same time. It wasn’t necessary, but His generosity was, and still is, appreciated.
Now, twenty years later I face another big birthday. And life again feels poised for change. I feel that there is a bend in the road ahead, but the view and direction have not come into focus. It’s more of a general sense that the next few months or year will have some changes. I don’t think they will be as drastic as 1996, but hopefully they will be as full of magic and wonder.
It is good to look back and look ahead, to measure your life by these milestone birthdays, and to assess where you are and where you want to be. As I look 50 square in the face, I also question the path I am walking, the direction I am facing.
Where will this next year or decade take me? I don’t know. But I hope you will join me as I write on…..