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Not all those who wander are lost.

But, some of us are. I was. Part of that was evident in the fact that I couldn’t stay put to live in one place for an extended period of time. I don’t mean moving within cities, because let’s face it, rent is ridiculous and sometimes moving is fiscally responsible.

I was born in Virginia and grew up in Maryland. When I got my first job, I moved just over an hour from home into Southern Maryland. I thought that was far away. I had a lot of issues and very deep depression and I hated my job. I lasted 8 months.

I moved to eastern NC with a new job. I continued gaining all the weight I had started to put on when I graduated college. I made some new friends, some of which I still have. I was aggressive and abrasive in my personality (still am). I became less happy with myself and eventually with work, but I was afraid to do something different. Three and a half years later, I received an unexpected job offer. I didn’t want to leave my best friend (at the time) and it wasn’t until I had her blessing that I decided I would go. Never was good at making decisions for myself.

Next stop: Orlando, Florida. The happiest place on earth. I didn’t want to move here so I never intended to stay more than a year. As a result, I never learned to embrace it or my job. Since I had gotten a Master’s degree in the field of the job I was offered, I felt I had to try it out for at least a little. I was still too agressive and taking work home with me. I started smoking and getting deeper into depression and drinking. One day I got a phone call asking me come back to NC. I had made it two years in Florida, more than I’d planned, so I said yes, I’ll go. Felt like it was a sign. It was time to go home.

So, back to eastern NC I went thinking I would never leave. I had missed the slow pace, the quiet country-like nature of the town. I designed and had a house built that I could grow into and live in for years. I put everything I ever wanted in it. Four months later, I wondered why I was home everyday crying. Some of my best relationships fell apart over stupid things. I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I’ll be damned, I missed Florida heat because I realized I hated being cold. I realized I had never made decisions for myself and I was wandering from place to place looking for something tangible instead of working on the intangible things inside. Everytime I would visit Florida, they would ask when I was coming back. I would tell them to give me time. I needed to be ready this time.

I got braces to fix my smile. I lost 93 pounds. I got back into writing poetry. I got involved in volunteering and in my town. I made friends with the mayor. I became somewhat famous. All in just under two years. I got to know myself and my interests. I learned to look for happiness within myself and not outside of me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still struggle with deep depression and have my days, but this was a step I had never taken before and it was one in the right direction.

I took a vacation to Florida. I said I was ready. I knew I was ready because I didn’t feel like I had to go back to any of those places.

Today marks two years that I’ve been back in Florida. For once, I’m not ready to run away. I’m content living where I am and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Sunshine makes me happy and is good for my health. Perhaps, that’s why my nicknames are Summer and Sunshine, haha.

Not all those who wander are lost. I may still be a wanderer, because who knows what the future holds, but I’m not lost anymore.

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