Escaping the Midwest
At the start of this fall, I quit my job.
To some, this may seem like a rash decision. However, it was anything but impulsive. I had been working at my company for eight years. And I had even loved the first five years that I worked there. But over the course of the final three years, things had gradually become pretty miserable.
Yet I stuck with that unsatisfying job for far too long in hopes that one day things would improve. It can be hard to let go of something that you have held onto for so many years. Change is scary. The unknown is even scarier. But in the end, I decided that life was too short to live another year unhappy. I spent a long time saving up money to make this bold move. And once I finally mustered up the courage to quit, I never looked back.
Now that I was no longer encumbered by my job, I decided to drive west. To be honest, I had no idea what I was even doing. I just knew that I needed to get out of the midwest for a while and that a change of scenery could do me a lot of good. My friend Renee lived near Boulder in a small town called Broomfield. She had been encouraging me to come out to visit Colorado and even said that I could stay with her while I explored the area! Awesome!
So I packed my car, got on the road, and headed west. It took a while for the reality of the situation to finally hit me. For the first two hours I felt like I was just going for a long drive and that soon I would return back home. It wasn’t until I crossed the border into Iowa that I began to realize what was happening.
I was driving away!
I can’t count how many times over the last two years I had just wanted to get into my car and drive west. It wasn’t just my unsatisfying job that created these feelings. It was the fact that over the last few years I had deeply entrenched myself in a predictable and uninspiring routine. A repetitive daily, weekly, monthly grind that I just couldn’t figure out how to break free from. I had dug myself into a veritable rut. I would go through the motions of each day, but deep down I was unsatisfied. I wanted change. I wanted adventure. The longer the monotony of my rut confined me, the more I imagined what it would feel like to just get into my car and drive far away.
And now I was actually doing it! With each and every mile that I drove west, I was leaving my rut a little farther behind me. I can’t even explain how cathartic this simple experience was. I spent the day, alone with my thoughts, driving across Iowa. And when the sun finally settled down upon the midwest, I stopped for the night in Omaha, Nebraska.
It felt so good to leave my world behind.
Driving to Colorado
The next day I hit the road early. The forecasts had been calling for terrible weather, and indeed they were right. Huge thunderstorms pummeled Nebraska all morning. Sometimes I could barely see the road through the relentless downpour. But I continued onward anyways and by noon the inclement weather had mostly dissipated.
On the first day of my road trip, as I drove across Iowa, my focus had been on driving away from home. I had felt so much freedom as I escaped the dangerously comfortable rut in which I had become so deeply entrenched.
This second day on the road was the exact opposite. I was no longer looking backwards, nor was I driving away from my life. Today, as I drove west across Nebraska, I was now looking forward. I was focused on how excited I was to be driving towards Colorado! Towards freedom! Towards adventure! I didn’t know what exactly the future held in store for me. All I knew was how excited I was and how free I finally felt.
I was flooded with an overwhelming rush of positive emotion when I finally drove past the “Welcome to Colorado” road sign. It seemed that the moment I was out of Nebraska, the monotony and flat terrain of the midwest was instantly replaced by winding roads and curving hills. It took a couple hours to reach the Denver area, and when I finally did, I realized that I was feeling a bit lightheaded. I could actually feel the effects of the altitude on my respiration. Then, as I was still driving, my nose suddenly started bleeding. I never have nosebleeds, so this freaked me out a bit. But I remembered that not only is Colorado a mile above sea level, but it is also a very dry climate as well.
Arriving in Broomfield
Renee lived in Boulder County, just west of Denver, in a small town called Broomfield. She had forewarned me that Broomfield was stunningly beautiful. But there aren’t really words to explain how I felt as I drove along the road towards her apartment. I had spent the last two days driving through a seemingly endless expanse of flat cornfields. Now, as I accelerated up along the hilly winding roads into Broomfield, a majestic mountain range was stretching out before me, towering into the blue skies of this early October afternoon. What a sight for sore eyes! To simply say it was beautiful would be a profane understatement.
It felt so good to finally arrive at Renee’s apartment and stop driving. She had just gotten off work so the timing was perfect. I usually only see Renee once a year, during our annual Colorado snowboarding trip, so it was awesome to see her now in a different situation. I relaxed and we chatted for a bit. She had two adorable and rambunctious huskies that I got to play with. I also spent a while gushing on about how beautiful the view was here, and how I couldn’t believe that she lived somewhere so breathtaking.
After we had chilled out for a while, Renee decided to give me a tour of Broomfield. I was happy to not be driving, and continued to ramble on about how wonderful everything here was. I love the Colorado mountains and I realized that it had been far too long since I had seen them last.
Renee knew my love of aviation and so she decided to take us to the restaurant at Broomfield Airport for dinner. What a cool idea!! We sat by the window so I could see the runways. Above them and in the distance, the golden sun slowly settled down behind the majestic Colorado mountains. A deep and powerful sense of peace came over me.
I had made it! I was finally back in Colorado.
I was finally home.