I drove down to Jacksonville to meet up with my friend Colleen, whom I had not seen in a year and a half. We were inseparable in college but after, distance and circumstance limited us from spending anywhere near that amount. I was considering Jacksonville as my next address, only because she is there, but in all honesty, I really can't stand that city too much and really can't picture myself living there.
We discussed it over drinks. Then decided to take a look a little further south--20 minutes to be exact--at the oldest city in the States: St. Augustine.
I've been there several times in the past. Like other haunted port cities (Savannah, Charleston, Seattle, etc.), there is something calm and mysterious about this town. We spent the next day roaming around, looking at apartments, dining on oysters and Sauvignon Blanc, otherwise avoiding any rainfall the city is used to getting on a regular basis. It was a good day.
Next on the list...Valdosta. Our college town. No matter how far away I get from it or all the dirty things I might say about it, no other place has felt like home more than Valdosta. I moved there in 1999 and stayed for five years. So much happened during that half-decade. And since then, in all the wandering I've done, I've never felt that sense of knowing myself and the people around me like I did in that shitty south Georgia city. So it was only appropriate that Colleen and I take a little trip down memory lane via Interstate 75.
As usual, it was great to see everyone I saw. And the changes! I was initially feeling self-conscious that I was the only person who had gained some weight while I was in China, but looking around I realized I was not alone. So that was a bit of a comfort. And then I remembered that shit like this doesn't really matter when you're around the comfort of friends you've known for 10 years, so I eventually quit thinking about it and focused on having a good time. And I did. We did! We talked our friend Tony into driving up from Tampa, Cliff into driving down from South Carolina, and all the others who were still locals to come out and get crazy. And that we did.
With the exception of Kaleb, I got to see my best guy friends--Adam, Mike and Cliff. I've been so used to hanging out with estrogen. It's not necessarily a bad thing but I do crave balance. I have my best girlfriends in Atlanta and then the female friendships I made in China. But I've been lacking the quality time with guy friends, a time for me to be (even more) unapologetically raunchy, a time to just get simple. Guys are simple. My life is pretty complicated right now, so simplicity is exactly what I need.
Simplicity. I'm trying to wrap my head around it. And that's where I have to stop myself. Perhaps I've been wrapping my head around things too much and it starts to blur the lines. I do have my moments when my head's not in the way and I just let myself go. If I'm lucky, I'm near a microphone and someone with a guitar. That doesn't happen too often but it did while I was down there and it felt great. I started letting out some of these things I've been holding onto, wrapping them in tune, I tried everything I could to do it carefully. I miss singing live so much. I miss standing on a stage (or no stage at all) and pouring everything I've got because it's all I got. I do miss that.
I'm still trying to figure everything out, that hasn't changed. I do know I'm facing a real challenge--and that's to resist the need to run away. I want to start embracing some real sophistication and plant some roots somewhere, get responsible, get mature. I'm growing up and it scares the living crap out of me!
Thank you for reading. More to come later.