Last night I was sitting in my Mustang waiting on Auburn Aries who’d run into a restaurant to pick up soup following some dental work. I had backed into a spot with a view of the restaurant doors, had the motor running and had the dog on my lap. I was listening to KGB FM when Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers blast their way into my car with American Girl. One of my all-time favorite songs.
I turned it up. I have a great stereo system with dual amps and expensive high-end mid-range speakers with a 10” sub-woofer built into the sidewall of my trunk, so when I say turned it up I don’t mean like those people with coffee can mufflers whose license plate covers rattle. I mean I turned it up and took it in - like a sommelier appreciating the complex bouquet of the finest wine. It doesn't have to be crazy loud to sound amazing. Tom and the boys were right there in the car with me and suddenly I found myself overcome with a wave of nostalgia. And pride. And accomplishment.
All this from one song, you say? Why, yes, from one song, indeed.
I am a fan of classic rock. Born in ‘63 I had the privilege of completely enjoying the 70’s. The music was so great. Growing up in San Diego was a gift my parents had no idea they were giving us kids. Being in high school in the 70’s, dating a bass player named Tracy Wright, being immersed in what was the rock of that decade, living in a place like San Diego with the sun and surf and vibe; it was amazing.
The song stirred something in me. I sat there and thought to myself I LIVE IN SAN DIEGO AGAIN! I’M HOME!!!
I did it. I am no longer in rainy Oregon thinking about how much I want to be home. I am home.
For 24 years I lived somewhere I did not call home. Stop for a moment and think about what that feels like. I had jobs and friends – really great best friends that I consider my family – but still there was an underlying sense of impermanence. Like I was waiting for something.
I sat there in my bad ass car listening to this bad ass song on my bad ass stereo on an 80° sunny evening with my kid and my dog and I felt blessed. I did an incredibly brave thing. After 24 years in Oregon and with a family I didn't have when I moved there, I decided and planned and implemented a move to another state. I did it all by myself. I’m a single parent. It’s just me. All my friends had moved away. I saved and I cut corners and I did it. I loaded a 26’ Penske and put my car on a flatbed trailer, secured it and hit the road.
I came home.
I was scared but I did it.
I sat there in my car overcome with pride and thankfulness and satisfaction. I made it. My memories of the 70’s – of sunny carefree days and great music and living in moment – I felt that again. I’d come full circle.
Yes, there are always sunny days here but they are not carefree. Now I’m 50 and I have a 16 year old who faces her own personal struggles (some of which I can relate to and some I cannot so helping is hit and miss on its best day); the music that was once the center of my Universe is now considered classic rock; and living in the moment means making considerations like my bank account and the long term effect of spontaneity.
But under the extra Oregon weight I’m working to shed and under the fact that I didn't rent our dream home while the dust settles from such a big move, lives a woman who’s still a bad ass. I am strong and funny and brave and fearless when it comes to the stuff that counts.
I’m still me and I’m home.