It’s been six months, to the day, since an apartment fire changed my life. Before that, I was living in my apartment with my girlfriend. We were building a camper van, planning to hit the road sometime in the spring after it was finished. I’d just started a new job. Life was pretty darn good.
I’m so far away from that life now it’s hard to believe it was my reality only six months ago. The fire happened. I lost a great deal of my belongings. I’d planned to downsize anyway, but not like that. My relationship lasted through the immediate crisis, then exploded afterward. To say that things did not go according to plan would be the understatement of the century.
But I’m still here. So is Lister, one of the only parts of my old life that has stuck with me through all this. I don’t know what I’d do without him. It’s starting to cool off in the north, which means that Trisha and I would probably have been heading toward Florida by now to spend the winter. Instead, I’m in Illinois, doing some upgrades and maintenance at Meg’s, before joining some fellow travelers to drive the iconic Route 66. In the process, I’m fulfilling a lifelong dream of traveling across the country. I probably would’ve gotten to it later if Trisha was still in the picture, but I’m doing it now. I’m already 1,000 miles into it just to get to Illinois.
That’s not to say I’ve completely moved on. I haven’t. The other night, Meg’s smoke alarm went off while she was cooking dinner. I freaked out a little bit. The sound was identical to the alarm in my apartment, and it briefly took me back there. I got over it quickly (hugs helped), but it wasn’t pleasant. I’ve also had a hard time moving past the end of my relationship with Trisha. But even there, I’m making good progress.
I sincerely hope the next six months is far less hectic, chaotic, and stressful than the previous six. At first I wrote “life-changing,” but that’s not a fair thing to ask. They say travel broadens the mind. As I get out west and experience new places for the first time, I’m sure it will change my life. I’ll keep meeting interesting people along the way, some of whom could also change my life or at least send me in a new, unanticipated direction. I feel like during the past six months, I’ve been through a lot and put in the work. Now I intend reap the benefits of that work over the next six months, and beyond.
Tonight, I plan to celebrate. I don’t want to wallow over the fact that it’s been six months since I “lost everything” (which isn’t true anyway). I want to celebrate not only surviving the last six months, but finally starting to thrive from it. Meg will be there, because although we only met in real life a few days ago, through the power of the internet she’s been a huge help getting me through all this to where I am today. Her own story isn’t mine to tell, but let’s just say we’ve both been through a lot this year, so we should both celebrate getting through it together.