August 19, 1999. People celebrate anniversaries of graduations, but that date changed my life far more than the graduation three months before. It was the day I left for college.
My mom had taken me to the airport and my friend Mike met me at the gate—remember when you could still go to the gate to see someone off? I’m still not sure why but in those days Mike loved going to the airport so I told him when my flight was thinking he might come. He did. (Thanks, Mike.) As the gate attendant took my boarding pass for that US Air Pittsburgh-Boston and I looked back at Mom and Mike, I didn’t cry; my eyes didn’t well up. I didn’t know how to cry in those days. It was another six months before I learned again.
But I was frightened. I knew I wouldn’t be a big fish in a small pond anymore. I had no idea what size body of water was coming or anything else.
It wasn’t the ten years I imagined it’d be, but it’s been good. I’ve lived all over the place. I’ve had great opportunities. I’ve met lots of great people and made great friends. I’ve worked on interesting projects. I gained and lost confidence so many times I can’t remember. I’ve gone through phases and hobbies and crushes and and and…