I realized something as I drove home on Sunday, with the sun setting in my rear view mirror and the Indiana cornfields sprawling for miles in every direction.
This would be my last time coming “home” to Indiana.
Two days before, we signed a lease on an incredible townhouse in one of my favorites neighborhoods in St. Louis. We filled out paperwork, wrote checks, and asked all the important questions like “Do you think the king-sized bed of our dreams will fit up those stairs?” (The answer, sadly, is most likely not.)
Indiana, and Indianapolis in particular, has been spectacularly good to me. I’ve met more wonderful people and experienced more incredible things than I ever knew could be possible.
Indiana is where I started my first grown-up job. I learned that I actually could make it in the real world. I’ve grown professionally in more ways than I can count and was tapped for my first real position as a writer. This company has put a lot of faith in me in the last 3.5 years–a faith they’re continuing to show as I transition to working remotely. I’m so grateful for their support and encouragement as I tried (and continue trying) to find my footing in the corporate environment I suddenly found myself in.
Indianapolis reconnected me with my passion for volleyball and showed me how much I love teaching this incredible game. The opportunities I had through Team Indiana have opened my eyes to a whole new world of volleyball. The people I met through the organization, not to mention my girls themselves, welcomed me with open arms and taught me to become both a better player and coach.
Indiana brought me Ben. It brought me our dog Sansa. It brought me memories and happiness and friends to last a lifetime. I can say with confidence that I’ve laughed a whole lot more than I’ve cried here–something that cannot be said about all the places I’ve put down roots.
That drive on Sunday brought me back to the first time I “drove home” to Indiana. I was 22 years old, scared out of my mind, and truly going out in the world for the first time. I definitely cried more than I laughed that first weekend–maybe even those first few weeks–alone in that one-bedroom apartment. Those two drives down the exact same roads could not have been more dissimilar. The first had me driving toward uncertainty. The last I drove with our dog in the backseat, on my way back to a city full of people I’ve grown to love.
And sure, we’ll be back again. Probably more times than I’d like. We’re still working our same jobs, most of our friends are here, and Ben’s video contacts here mean a lot of his production work will still be in Indiana.
It won’t be home, though. Not again. But this place, this city, these people will always hold a special place in my heart.