Nine months in nine minutes

Nine months – a new record for me. No, I didn’t give up beer for nine months. Are you people mad? I haven’t posted anything in nine months. Now, before you grab your pitchfork and start getting the mob together, let me explain.

I’ve been lazy.

Sorry, that was the best excuse I could come up with. But I jest. Well, kind of. These past nine months have been absolutely insane. Let’s recap the whole thing in a brief list that does none of it justice – Valerie and I moved, we got married, we moved into our first house, had a baby, and entered a new chapter of our lives. Oh, I also left my job of three years.

Phew. Let me catch my breath.

Okay, where were we? Right, life changes. As many of you know, I left Indiana and the Midwest last August. It was much harder than I thought it would be. While I called Indiana home for more than 20 years, I never expected I would have such a hard time saying goodbye to it. Granted, Indiana – Bloomington, in particular – gave me many of the best memories of my life:

I learned to ride a bike in Indiana. I went to school in Indiana. I fell in love with writing in Indiana. I met the woman I would go on to marry and start a family with in Indiana. I worked my first job ever in Indiana. I drank my first beer in Indiana. I made the greatest friendships in Indiana. In short – Indiana made me.

All of that being said, the move from Indiana was made sweeter knowing we had numerous major events before us, the first of which was moving into our first house.

Shortly after our move to Texas, we high-tailed it from one town to the next, settling down in a cute little town, not very far from the awesomely weird Austin. We moved into our first house, leaving apartment living behind us. Owning a house has been a learning experience like no other, but we’ve loved every minute of it. Even those minutes composed of, “WTF is that sound and why is there water in the entryway?” Which brings me to our next stop on the “John and Valerie blow through all of life’s major milestones in six months 2016 tour.”

In September Valerie and I got married. It was a beautiful ceremony complete with beautiful people that mean the world to us. Friends and family from both ends of the country apparently love us enough to travel to Texas for us. To see a room filled with people from thousands of miles away was the most humbling experience.

Of course, the ceremony didn’t go completely as planned. But what would a wedding be if it didn’t have some speed bumps? We were originally going to get married outside, underneath a big, beautiful tree. Unfortunately, this is Texas and it never cools down. Fortunately, Valerie loves me enough that she didn’t want to see me and the groomsmen sweating to death, so she moved things inside that afternoon. While we missed the tree, the indoor ceremony was perfect. Did I mention Valerie walked down the aisle to the theme song from Lord of the Rings? Oh, how I love that girl.

Not even three months after we got married, our unborn little dude decided due dates were a bunch of crap and came early. On December 6, at approximately 2:05PM, we welcomed Raylan to the world. He was close to eight pounds and big for being early, but I couldn’t get over how small he was. He was perfect then and he’s perfect now – only bigger. And his poop smells really weird. I miss those scentless newborn poops.

P.S. Non-parents, see what kind of weird things you have to look forward to?

Everything they tell you about parenting is probably true. Emphasis on probably. If you thought owning your first house would be a learning experience, let me tell you about parenting – it’s a doozy. Raylan was born three months ago, during which time I’ve gotten about 10 hours of sleep in total. I’m not even sure my keyboard is plugged in.

Kidding aside, parenting has been a life-changing experience like no other, and we’re only getting started. There have been so many ups, and only some downs (Read: No sleep, cranky parents, and plenty of late-night scares). While I’ve only been a student of parenting for a few months, I feel it’s taught me more than any other experience in my life. I look forward to the many challenges before us, and most of all, I look forward to watching our little goofball grow into a big goofball like his dad.

Lastly, I recently left my job with a publishing company after three years. Like all things, there were highs and lows. But, that job gave me something I could never put a price on: experience. As someone hoping to make it in the world as a writer, experience was the one thing I couldn’t get after college. This company took a chance on me, which opened numerous doors, taught me a lot about writing and myself, and ultimately led me to my new awesome job at a marketing firm in Austin. Any nervousness about starting my new job is easily outweighed by my excitement. To any of you companies out there who are reading this – take a chance on the little guy. They just might surprise you.

That wraps up our nine-month tour of insanity. This all probably seems a bit rushed, and that’s because it is. A lot has happened in nine months. If I told you every gritty detail we’d be here for hours. 2016 was a year of incredible highs fraught with a devastating low. But, thus is life. We do our best to roll with the punches, cherish the wonderful moments, and weather the storms life sends our way. I will say, 2016 was without a doubt the most profound year of my life. It was a year I will never forget. Most of all, 2016 was the year I began a new chapter in a new state.

If I learned anything from my 1,000-mile move, it’s that home is something that travels with you. Sure, I physically left many of my friends and family behind, along with the town that I love. But, I also took with me the memories they gave me. Now, here in beautiful and big Texas, I often see things that remind me of people and places in Indiana. And in that way, I never left.


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