Dreams of the open road

The visit with Texas family went very well. Very little drama. By the end of the week, however, I could feel myself sinking in mood. I attribute it to my introversion. Having so little solitude is really draining on me. Also, we were driving between Kerrville and San Antonio on pretty much a daily basis, and I was sensitive to the fact that we were bombarding my brother and his wife with lots of not-always-quiet visitors when they had a new baby to contend with. He was way, way cute, however, and I fear I gave him a bald spot on his head from all my kisses.

When we first arrived in San Antonio, my mother picked us up and drove us to my brother’s house. As she drove me past my high school, the malls I shopped growing up, I was amazed at how much things have changed and how much they haven’t. Jim’s Diner is still there to welcome the drivers coming off Loop 410 on Marbach road. HEB took over Mercado mall. And the feeling I had was wretched.

My husband and I have talked seriously about moving to Texas. We’re tired of the rat race of living in Long Beach/Los Angeles. It looks as though it will be virtually impossible for my husband to have his own massage therapy business here, and I’m so over cubicle living I can’t stand it. In Texas, not only will we be closer to all of my family (both a blessing and, at times, a curse), but, though salaries tend to be about 20% lower, the cost of living tends to be about 40% lower. We might even be able to buy a house, have hubs perform massage to pay the bills and I can stay home to do my thing. Trouble is, I’m still a little lost as to what my thing is. I like writing. I like photography. I like repurposing things. I like creating art. I like singing and acting, though I’ve done very little lately. I’m just not sure that I like any of those things enough to focus solely on that to make a living. If hubs can pay the bills with massage, however, I can dabble in all of them, which would be fun and certainly keep things from being boring.

But, as we drove around San Antonio, I suddenly felt something akin to what my brother felt when he moved back to Texas. My brother is a writer and independent filmmaker. He lived in Los Angeles for a while, then in Hawaii, where he made his films. After falling in love with one of his high school classmates, he moved back to Texas, back to the same zip code we grew up in, and confided to me that he felt like a failure for doing so. I was sympathetic, and told him *I* didn’t think of him that way, that he was starting a new chapter in his life, with a new wife and family, and that moving back to Texas didn’t mean he was giving up on his dreams.

Only now, that feeling is washing over me a bit. I moved to California 13 years ago to accomplish things I haven’t even tried to accomplish. My life is very different now than it was then. I went from being a single drunk who smoked and was forever mourning the death of the person she considered her soul mate to a smoke-free sober person with a darling four-year old daughter and husband that adores her. I feel more confident in many ways than I was then, but I do often feel like the best years of my life…the best years to get things done…have passed me by. It’s a feeling I have to push away to stay out of the hole.

I’m proud of myself, however, for overcoming this feeling of dread. I reminded myself that I can be a success anywhere, and that, should I ever decide to pursue anything related to the film industry, there are opportunities outside of Hollywood available. I actually came back from my vacation ready to roll up my sleeves and continue the slow drip…taking tiny, consistent steps to reach my goals.

And daydreaming about how cool it would be to drive my dream car, a classic 1969 Chevy Camaro, down the open highways of Texas.

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