I leaned with my elbows against my porch, looking up at the stars that had barely been there the previous month, the cold March wind whipping my chest and face, a surprise freeze after nearly-Spring weather. I thought about tomorrow. I couldn’t see it.
I couldn’t see any of the days that rolled out before me. All I could see was that sky.
For years, I could see my future. For two of them, it was even the future I wanted: adventure and travel and new shades of green; a home and kids and dogs; love and touch. For the rest of the years, I could still see my future, and though it wasn’t what I wanted, it was there and it was predictable and it was mine. It was something to look at and something to wait for.
Now, the future – the next minute, even – looked like nothing. Not empty, necessarily, but blank. Unpainted. Completely unknown. It was somewhat threatening, but not mostly. Mostly it was filled with good.
Four months before my life changed forever, I had decided to only put one foot in front of the other if it was for the sake of following the good. The next good thing, which would lead me to the next and the next. I did it most days. Sometimes my head turned in on itself and everything was scrambled and sad, but mostly I led myself in the right direction.
The thing they don’t tell you about following the good is that sometimes that means choosing the bad. Most people assume that a happy life means an easy one, but I’m not sure when those two things became confused. Sometimes the good is on the other side of the swamp. Not realizing that is what makes people settle. But “not bad” in no way equals good. And it never will.
For me, I decided to put my trust in a future and all of the things within in that I couldn’t see. There was no detail. There was just a haze of good. I knew I would lead myself there. I knew that if I left this guy, then the guy I’d been dreaming about would be within my reach. Maybe I’d already met him. Maybe I hadn’t. Maybe, even, he didn’t exist or I wouldn’t find him. All of those options were better than the relationship I was in, though. All of them were an unknown I could handle compared to a known that I couldn’t live with anymore.
The road to good twists; it’s pockmarked. It changes and it’s scary and, for me, the one word I’ve used to describe it is “strange.” Everything’s felt strange, as though I’m living my life in a mirror where most things are the same but slightly off and where I don’t really recognize anything fully. Perhaps that’s what life looks like when you’re moving forward.