Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eight things I've learned in the last 14 months

A year ago today I got in my car in Boston and began driving to Kansas City. A year and two days ago, I got married. A year and a month ago I gave notice at a job I'd held for 12 years. A year and two months ago my love and I decided to throw our lives up in the air and see what happened.

It's been a wild ride.

I don't regret the choices we made. We decided to leave Boston and come to KC for good reasons. Over the past year we've learned so much about ourselves, our world and our place in it. Here are a few of those lessons.

  1. It's impossible to drive alone. I get a lot of surprised looks when people find out I drove from Boston to KC by myself. For one, I like long drives, they give me time to think. And for another, I wasn't alone. While I was the only human in that car for three days, I carried with me memories, imaginary friends and one guinea pig in a carrying case beside me. When your passenger is continually demanding carrots, you know you're not alone.
  2. A companion helps. While it's had its challenges, this year would have been immeasurably harder had Kevin Brooks not been by my side. Not a sidekick, not supporting character, not the hero waiting for me to come along, but companion.
  3. Don't deny the feelings. In the past year I have grieved a place, a community, a way of life. I've fallen in love with a new place and a new life. I've been confused, frustrated, elated and more. Living the big life means you feel your feelings and accept that even the best and worst will change.
  4. Shit happens. You can figure it out. Two days before I drove to KC, leaving all I knew in Boston behind, and the morning of our wedding, Kevin and I lost the house we were planning to live in. We were without a home. And we figured it out. We figured out so many things this year, alone and together. Take a deep breath. Even if it's bad, you can find a way through.
  5. Pfft. Who needs maps? Get lost once in awhile. I've discovered some great parts of Kansas City by turning off my GPS and just exploring.
  6. Don't be afraid to be alone. I have had more solitary time this year than ever before. It's been wonderful. I've learned how I work, how I play, how to balance the two and who I am when no one is looking. The time spent in the car with only ghosts and a guinea pig for company helped me launch into this new adventure with a clearer mind. Every day, I have a chance to check in and see who I am today.
  7. Given a chance, people are generally kind. Sure, there are assholes. But most people, most of the time, default to benign disinterest. If you ask for help, they fall in love with the idea of being useful. Give them the opportunity to be kind. From the waitress in the Huddle House to the desk clerk somewhere in Indiana, people were kind to me for the whole drive. They've been kind here, too. I am grateful.
  8. When adventure calls, say yes. Every hero's journey starts with the call to adventure. It's very easy to pretend we don't hear it, amidst our comfortable homes and technology and routine. This year has helped me remember that saying yes to adventure, while difficult sometimes, can't help but be rewarding. Give it a shot. Who knows, at a minimum you'll end up with stories to tell.

(c)2014 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Laura, as you know, I, too, moved a year ago. Your blog is spot on! Thanks for sharing this experience. You optimistic outlook will give others who take this journey something to look forward to down the road.

  2. Love this! I bet that you've learned more than most would. xoxo

  3. Laura, I have moved twice as a kid, nine times already as an adult. it took trice a long drive, six times a plane and a train and a rented car. few good ones to give a hand, its a journey and you damm right described it as an adventure. Well it is!, best of stories, best of things, worst of things. it sure give an amplitude to life. we will have plenty of times for a flat-line after life.


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