Once, while visiting family in Dallas, I asked my parents if I could stay longer and took my first solo plane trip back to Austin a few days later.
In high school, on a whim, I joined my best friend Amanda for these silly dance auditions at 7am and for the next four years, drill team was my life.
After several hollow dreams of the west coast and Ivy League schools passed, I followed my young, naive heart to Lubbock, Texas, a city I had never been to, a University of which I did not know the mascot.
My grandma is reading this or else I would even tell you how many tattoos I have!!!
I don't think any of these circumstances could have prepared my parents for what I did on June 20, 2011.
About two months prior, I laid in my bed with strep throat and applied to 44 jobs in Denver, Colorado. I didn't tell too many people, as my plan had been to return to Austin and look for jobs there. But a couple weeks later, my now friend Michelle called me to offer me an interview as a Mental Health Case Manager in Denver! I flew out, and y'all, no one thought that plane ticket would pay itself off. (Side note: they were right, you don't make any money in social work, badumm chhhhh) Fast foward, two weeks later I got a call back offering me a temporary position for another employee's maternity leave.
My family is a helluva lot more reasonable than I, so they all told me to wait for a permanent position, but my I accidentally left my heart in Denver during the interview so I had to go back and get it.
Today, exactly two years after I drove away from my hometown with my car loaded down, my heart is heavy (as are my tear ducts). But not heavy in a bad way. Heavy with love, wonder, homesickness, new memories, old memories, friendships, more memories than I thought were possible, confusion, anxiety, peace, more love.
I love my family, I love my friends, but y'all...I'm so happy I didn't listen to you and your reason. I'm so happy I've never listened. I've made so many mistakes, I've been so irresponsible. But I've just been following my wandering, attention-deficit, bleeding heart.
And now as my little brothers have both taken that drive over the Texas border, my parents sit at home and watch "Sheldon" (Big Bang Theory), and share stories of our dogs like they are another generation of children, I hope they are proud. And I hope their hearts are as heavy as mine with pride and enough worry and wonder to occasionally come visit us
or buy us plane tickets back home. Because they gave us this gift, a sense of adventure bigger than a sense of fear, and let us fly, but not too far.