Six years ago, to the day, I packed up my 1994 Chrysler LHS and set my GPS for Texas. In a visit one year before the day I left, I had met a bunch of fun people and was told that Texas held plenty of job opportunities for me. Over the year, I kept applying for jobs in all over the country. I received rejections from every state, Australia, Canada, and Europe. So, when 2011 rolled around, I decided to put in for a transfer within Best Buy, get a Texas area code, and just move in with my family until I found something down there. I was 26, up to my eyes in debts of all kinds, and had nothing to lose in moving south. I wasn’t even sure after packing my car that it would make it. I didn’t have a dime to my name so my uncle loaned me $175 bucks to drive down. I had no credit cards, no extra cash, and no backup plan. My friend hopped in the passenger seat and away we went. We made it to Texas on March 31, and I didn’t have to start work til the first full week in April. It cost me $125 of the money, including food to move to Texas. My old clunker cruised comfortably the entire way, and we made it without any issues at all.
In six years, I have learned many things. Those fun people I met in my earlier visit turned out to be anything but fun and the opportunities I had were only if you knew someone. In late 2011, my old roommate and best friend moved to Houston to pursue a career he said he’d never do but was too broke to say no. By then, I was also working in an industry I had never intended and was just glad he would be closer than Michigan. I started as a Best Buy transfer and quickly moved on to work for the same company for the better part of five years. A sudden layoff sent me back a step and then a giant push forward to where I am now. I sit here, six years later, appreciative of the family that didn’t even hesitate to open their home to me when I so desperately needed a hand. I sit here thankful for the jobs I held, and the one I have, in getting me on track financially and saving me from the mountains of debt that started forming. I am thankful for the people I have met in Texas, even those that turned out to be terrible and taught me a lesson in a way. I sit here, six years later, still missing my dearest Michigan friends and family knowing I changed the dynamic by abruptly moving away.
In the six years I’ve been in Texas, I have… met my better half, adopted a dog and a cat, moved at least 5 times, met at least four people I could call friendly, met more than two handfuls of people I wish to never see again, and learned how to drive very aggressive/defensively. Living in Texas brought to realization that I took the people and scenic beauty of Michigan for granted. I didn’t love it and them hard enough when I was there. I look at where I am now, a city dwelling thirty-something craving nature, and think I could have been hiking every evening in Michigan without driving more than a half hour. I could have been cross-country skiing all winter and camping all summer. But, when I was there, I wasn’t in a place to be doing these things – I wasn’t there mentally. In Michigan I was depressed, angry, bitter, and avoiding all responsibility because I had fucked my life up and didn’t know how to fix it. As much as I’ve grown to despise many people here and despite my need to move away, my initial move to to Texas saved me from myself and whatever extremely unhealthy choices I was making at the time. Now, I’m not saying it’s all because of Texas the state, but moving to the state voluntarily and having people here that knew the right people changed my trajectory in life.
I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I hadn’t moved six years ago. I can’t imagine if I’d even be alive – knowing how dark things were sometimes – if I hadn’t done something as drastic as moving and accepting the help of family. Mostly, I try to focus on the present and future now.
All’s I know… I am thankful for what I have and who I know because of Texas, I miss my people and the scenic beauty of Michigan, and I will continue to desire a relocation when it’s appropriate for my better half and I to do so. I have a new appreciation for the friendships that weathered the years apart, a new affection for green trees and freshwater, and a new view on the value we place on things in our lives. I’ve learned, by living in the DFW metro area, that I do not desire a city this big and I need some form of public transportation. I have learned that speed limits outside of Texas are absurdly too slow. I have realized that this state does have natural beauty, but it takes some time to discover it all.
Cheers to life, the future, and the hope that things will continue to get better.