~Henry Emerson Fosdick
I didn't used to believe I lived a sheltered life when I was a kid. Maybe not so sheltered but secluded. It was a world of kickball and flag football and summers at the beach. No, not one of those fancy beaches with beach houses and lifeguards but a rocky beach where you never knew what would wash up after a storm. My circle of friends was small but true. The boundaries of my world consisted of the of the pillars at the end of the street and the gate to the lake at the other end.
As I got older, those boundaries stretched a little. A Girl Scout camping trip with an hour long drive felt like we were going to drive off the edge of the Earth. A trip to Fairport Harbor or the West Side brought scenery yet explored at that point of my life. A 20-mile drive for my work permit was a big deal especially considering the lack of a second working car most of the time.
College took me four hours away from home. Five if you count my trombone audition at Miami of Ohio. Road trips took me into West Virginia and even all the way to the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. As my horizons broadened, so did my yearning for travel - my desire to see more of the World and also find myself in it.
I moved to Tennessee and completed college. My career took me to other countries. I learned new cultures and languages. Airline reward miles racked up as our vendor base grew. The World seemed ever so much smaller the more I saw of it. I write this as I am a passenger on our trip to New York for New Years' Eve. Second trip here this year. 10-hour trips seem to fly by as quickly as a 15-minute trip used to.
Since I've moved back home, memories flood back of those early days. Sometimes I hesitate to cross the imagined boundaries of my universe from my childhood. There are no roadblocks stopping me anymore from going to the next county, state or even country. The giants from my past that bullied me have shrunk in size and no longer haunt me. The problems that seemed insurmountable have diminished and no longer hold the power they once did. I don't know if my confidence has helped bring everything into perspective or if my perspective has increased my confidence. Either way, my view of it is so different now.
So, as I sail into 2012, I will continue to broaden my horizons and explore my world as it stands today. I don't pretend to always understand it and I can't say I've conquered all of my demons. I go now, less afraid of what the unknown holds and even less afraid of myself. But I believe I understand me now and isn't that what it is all about anyways?
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