Nineteen Years Later

Today marks 19 years since I left Tennessee to move to St. Louis. I still remember getting in the car that morning with my two cats (now deceased), saying good-bye to my roommate (also now deceased), and driving to my new home in a new city that I had only visited once ten years before that.

Moving here for work, I left all of my friends in Memphis. I didn’t know anyone. I started completely over. It was a decision I immediately regretted. But spend too much time in one place and you forget about your regrets, or you learn to live with them.

In two months, I will have lived in St. Louis just as long as I lived at home as a teenager. I left home in the summer of 1995 and moved to Memphis to attend college. Despite having lots of friends and decent work, I never liked Memphis either. But had I not moved there when I did, I probably never would have left the small town I’d grown up in. Memphis was my diving board. St. Louis was the deep, dark water beneath.

Those nineteen years at home felt like a lifetime. Your youth always does when you have nothing to worry about except school. Your summers are long. The holidays mean much more. Life is full of happiness and elation. No bills to pay. Not much to worry about other than good grades.

These last nineteen years have gone by in a flash. It’s hard to believe that if I’d had a newborn baby when I moved here in 2001, they’d now be as old as I was when I left home. It’s hard to put that into perspective. But here I am…nineteen years later.

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