"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Jeep's Last Ride

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." - Semisonic, "Closing Time".Today is the beginning of a new Tuesday meme invented by Skittles, who we all know from the wonderful "Skittles' Place." It's called "Heads or Tails" and the first theme for the first installment is "Beginnings". Which is fitting, because today is the first day, a beginning if you will, of a new life, a "me" without my Jeep. Now you may say, "So what? A car is a car!" And that may be so. But really, it's not the car. It's the experience. It's the period of life that is over for me, while a new one is beginning. The Jeep wasn't just a dream car for me, it was a symbol.

Four years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was working at Fox News in New York where I had been for 5 years. I loved the company, I loved my co-workers, I loved my friends, but I no longer liked my job. I am known for the two-year itch; if I don't change jobs, I must add or change responsibilities somehow (hopefully through a promotion) sometime around the two year mark. That had happened for me pretty easily up until that point, but now there was no where else for me to go. So I started sending out resumes. Evan and I were dating long distance, so I thought my options were open. I could find another job or even head back to Florida for grad school. But when Evan and I spoke, it was clear that we weren't ready to take it to the next level yet, so moving back to Florida didn't seem like a good idea. I got a call back from the Associated Press, for where else, but across the country in their Salt Lake City bureau. In Utah. The job was perfect. And when I went for the interview and stepped off the plane with the mountain ranges all around me and the sparkling lights of the little city sitting in the middle of it, I fell in love. When I got back to New York, I must have known what my decision was, but I cried all night because I knew I would have to say goodbye to New York City, and when you move up there to "make it" and then decide to move, there is a little piece of you that thinks maybe you're a failure for having to leave. But I packed up my studio apartment on 49th street, said goodbye to my neighborhood, my job, my co-workers, my friends, my favorite bars, my corner deli, my favorite restaurants, and I boarded a plane with my cat and headed out west.

And I bought a Jeep. A yummy, green, 4-wheel-drive Jeep Wrangler. I spent hours and hours just driving around Utah with my music blaring, having no idea where I was going. Just to explore. It was gorgeous out there. The Jeep got me safely down a frozen mountain after covering an avalanche story until midnight. Took me camping in the red rock canyons of Moab with my new friends.

Took me to Ogden where I ran my first 5k with Evan. Took me and my cousins to see the Great Salt Lake, which is that beautiful mirror you see behind us.
At the end of that very eventful year, where I learned all there was to know (at the time) about myself and my ability to start over in a completely new place, Evan proposed. And that Jeep took me, my cat, and all my stuff all the way across the country again, back to Florida. We were ready.

I hadn't a clue when I got into my lease where I'd be in 4 years from then. I am shocked when I look back and see that I have moved, gotten married, had a couple jobs, bought a house and had a kid. So when I turned in my Jeep, I had a few tears. Not because I am unhappy now. Quite the opposite. That Jeep has been there with me when I discovered myself. When I cried listening to "Here Without You" by Three Doors Down while missing Evan. When I just went and sat in the back of my Jeep, taking pictures of my feet, pondering life while looking out across a reservoir with the snowcaps behind it.

And now the Jeep, and the symbol of my identity, has been replaced with a big, blue shiny minivan, a symbol of my new identity. A beginning of my new phase of life. Where will I be when this one's paid off in a few years? I don't know. All I know is this: I have no regrets.


Skittles said...

How very interesting to read all this. You used to work for Fox News and submitted stories to the Associated Press??? This is big time excitement for the news junkie! (ME!)

You have a really good point and I bet so many others share it with you.. how our vehicles become a part of our lives.

Marcia said...

Perfect beginnings story, you make your own beginnings often. A lot of good in that determination not to stagnate. The jeep was the perfect representation - as is the minivan. Will be interesting what is next.

tegdirb92 said...

wow, what a beautiful story! I love the Jeep!! A great beginnings story.

Tammy Duplessie said...

What a great way to do your Meme. It's amazing how objects can mean so much to us and how they can change our lives. P.S. I love the Jeep!

Misty Dawn said...

Wonderful post! Loved it! I too love the jeep!

Stine said...

Great beginnings! Wonderful car!

Robin said...

I heart this post Christie! You have had an amazing life thus far!
I am still swearing off mini-vans and have managed to escape their clutches thus far. I believe I've made it through the roughest times, out of car seats..
anyway, this is a great meme..maybe I will try it next week!

Rambler said...

utah looks so appealing :)

Skittles said...

Please drop by and read about My Linky Love Dream. :)

Sanni said...

Excellent entry, Christie - thanks for sharing your thoughts... very inspiring.

Thanks for the kind comment you left on my entry as well. I felt better after reading your comment ♥