I remembered agonizing, multi-hour bus rides, traveling for long distance relationships when we'd met on the internet my first year of college. Was I that person? The same person who, waiting at the airport as a child for my aunt, wondered if I'd ever get to travel? Was I the person who stole opportunities for road trips to Erie, Cleveland, Morgantown, Columbus, Harrisburg, Johnstown because they were close, and somewhere new and different? The one who drove to Canada for dinner at age 23 because I'd never left the country previously? The one who took a 3 speed bike on a 13 mile ride including 550 feet of climb and the gutter of a 4 lane highway ... at age 10? Was I that person?
As I cut up the pumpkin for the stew, I thought of the garden that had gone unrealized this year, but looked at the food I was making from scratch and thought of scrounging for 29 cent hamburgers, and eating them for weeks on end. Was I that person? The recipe called for a variety of unusual things. Was I the person who wouldn't even eat things with red sauce, let alone spice? The dish, made from a Native American recipe, smelled delicious so far. Was I the person who visited the Indian museum in Washington during a train layover, and cried? The one who visited the Martin Luther King Jr birthplace days later as an aside during a conference and cried again for the entire walk back into the center of the city? The one who was probably half again as big as now for that walk?
In a few hours, when the food was done, my spouse and I would go meet friends to share them. Was I the same person who had trouble even finding relationships? The one who finally started to understand my life and told my college girlfriend, but then got scared and retreated? I looked down at the house dress I had thrown on while cooking and remembered the shirt and tie for 4 years of high school. Was I that person?
All of us are all that person, you might say. But, step one was realizing something, the second life you needed to live, the one that you weren't scared to show. It is not we who are that person. I am. Today, 15 months after starting to set out way points for my journey, I am living my life. One life.
Today, I am thankful.