What’s surprised you the most about your life or life in general?
The thing that has surprised me the most is that I still live in Minnesota, and have only moved 30 miles from my hometown.
It’s odd, when I was growing up I wanted nothing more that to get away from Blackduck, out of the state of Minnesota- and perhaps out of the country. I wanted to have so many different experiences and go places far from where I grew up, but it has never happened. It’s hard to pinpoint the how, when or why of the situation but here I am, so many years later living in the same area.
When I was a kid my Dad was a military man and we moved quite frequently. I was not born in Minnesota, I was born in Virginia- a place which still provides me with a comforting feel when I occasionally (OK, hardly ever) return. All of our moving and such happened before I started school, but I don’t remember ever wishing that we could stay in one spot. I did not mind moving, at least as far as I can remember. We moved to Minnesota before my Kindergarten year, we returned to my Dad’s family and his hometown.
Growing up 6 miles outside a rural town (population less than 500 for most of my life) that consisted of loggers and farmers, life was always simple. Trips to town were big occasions, and that got tougher on me as I grew up. I didn’t get to attend birthday parties or do sleep-overs, I typically didn’t have a ride to get to any of those places and I had chores around the house to do. When I was old enough to play baseball, you would find me pedaling that 6 miles on my 10 speed across gravel roads to and from practice. I can’t honestly tell you which activity gave me more exercise, baseball or biking.
When my brother got old enough, he was allowed to drive the old, old pickup. It was the old 3/4 ton Ford that we used to haul our pickup bed camper and ourselves across the country when Dad was in the military. It was a stick, beat up, but it got us around. It was great until- I realized I was the tag-along younger brother. I was not allowed to go with my bother often, although I knew if I put up enough of a fuss I could have had my parents force my brother into taking me more.
I ended up inheriting that truck when I got older, and things seemed fine. I loved driving around- it was a freedom from the farm. I often thought I was driving across the country, traveling from one coast to the other. Sad thing is- that has never happened.
I applied to many different colleges when the time came, and I was accepted to almost all of them. I finally could have left this place- it was what I always wanted- but fear kept me back. Fear kept me from doing the thing I had wanted so much throughout my teen years. I grew up with no car, no real job outside the farm. I had no confidence that I could support myself or even get around if I ventured too far. I planned on going to the University of Minnesota until I found out I was on a long, long, long waiting list for a room. I ended up attending hometown BSU and the rest is what makes me who I am today.
One thing I keep telling myself is that there will be a time when I can go to all of those places I dreamed of, but was too scared to visit. At the very least, I owe it to my younger self to visit one.