February 1, 2013, I crossed over 100,000 miles on my car. Some may think this is a tedious thing to track, but not me. See, those miles are all mine. Damn near every single one of them.
When I drove my little Toyota Matrix off the lot, she had six miles reading on the odometer. That was AFTER my test drive. Pre test drive, I think there may have been two miles, if that. When I test drove my baby, the Toyota folks had to take plastic off the seats and that protective paper stuff off the hood and such. It was THAT new.
I’ve had new cars before, but not for this long. One even met with an untimely demise after a confrontation with an ’82 New Yorker that ran a stop sign. This is the first time in my life I’ve crossed the 100,000 mile milestone and it all -- be -- mine.
It got me thinking. On my way home that centennial night, I thought about the things that have happened in my life during those 100,000 miles. There have been huge highs and huge lows.
Some of the highlights of those 100,000 miles...
I reconnected with my father, whom I never had a great relationship with. I said goodbye to my Granny. I got married. I said goodbye to my TazzTazz (the most obnoxiously wonderful cat ever). I drove cross-country with my Lab-mutt, Arwen, who was ever patient with the week long adventure. I moved to Tennessee without a job and one friend (besides my hubs). I became a home owner. I worked for the worst company ever in existence (ever) for six months. I landed a job at a great biofuels company (and still work there). I befriended some of the most amazing people ever; I’m looking at you Rachel, Cara, Dana, and Amber! I said goodbye to my G-ma. I said goodbye to Grandpa Wilgus (in-law) who was quite possibly the most big-hearted man I’d ever come to know. I brought home my baby boy after 36 hours of labor. I found my inner writer. I wrote a book. I flew to New York City (had never been there before, by the way) by myself to attend an SCBWI conference where I knew not a soul. I met my first critique partner/writer-friend, Carli (HUGS). I met another awesomesauce critique partner/writer-friend, Alisha. I wrote several short stories and one resulted in an honorable mention in Writers Digest. I learned that my mother has drug and alcohol addictions and almost died of an overdose. I learned that sometimes you cannot depend on the one’s you need to depend on most. I also learned that the one’s you thought you could never depend on were the most dependable. I started two more books and know I will one day be published. I said goodbye to my sweet Arwen after a short, but horrible, fight with Cushing's Syndrome. I invested in my dream computer (hello Macbook Pro). I learned that the infallible love of a child is the most precious gift in this world.
I also, after these 100,000 miles, have learned that my journey as a writer is just beginning. She may have always been there lurking under the surface waiting for her chance to be born, but she’s still new to me. My journey as a writer will undoubtedly be as treacherous, ugly, rewarding, exciting, crushing, and as anxiety filled as the last 100,000 miles in my car, but that is the beauty of life. Life is a journey. Writing is a journey. And both will leave tread marks on your soul.