“Even Steven” was something my mom used to say a lot - probably because with 6 kids there was a lot of dividing up to do and there was much less chaos if things were evenly distributed.
This weekend I officially become “even Steven.” Twenty six years ago on Labor Day Weekend I left Nebraska and flew out to Boston to start the next chapter of my life. Twenty six years later, here I am. I have had one foot in two very different lives for 26 years each. Even. Balanced. Or not.
First of all, I can’t believe I am 52. (I expected to be MUCH older when I turned 52, probably close to being dead because back then it sounded so ancient.) I know like my brain is more fully formed than it ever was at 26 and I do like myself a lot more. While I am happily free from so many of the concerns that overwhelm the 26-year-old mind, I look back and am a little in awe of myself – I uprooted my life, my culture, everything I had and knew to move halfway across the country. Yikes. I was motivated by a broken heart, a fatigue of singing at all my friend’s weddings (and then babysitting their children) but mostly because I had to feed the wanderlust that took root when I began reading books. Those days of lying in the grass and watching the contrails from jets stream across the sky - oh how I wanted to be one of those people ON the jet, going somewhere, anywhere - just going. I wanted to see, do, and experience the big, wide world.
Would I do it over? In a New York minute. There are parts of both lives I would never want to repeat, which is moot anyway since we don’t get a do-over in life. I can’t choose which life has been richer or more satisfying because each has had tremendous joys and gifts.
It will be interesting to see which way the scales tip in the next 26 years. I have a lot of places to see (when am I EVER going to get to Paris????) and a lot of things to do out here. I do know that when it is all over I want my body to be burned and my ashes to be scattered along the Platte River in Nebraska. That saying about “you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl” is true. Life is where you live it, but home……is home.