One year and counting
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
The day this column is printed marks the one-year anniversary of the day I moved to Mt. Pleasant. True, it may not be a milestone celebration like some of the others that have been happening recently — T.T.T.’s centennial, the Civil War sesquicentennial or First United Methodist Church’s dodransbicentennial come to mind.
However, while my anniversary may not be as big — it doesn’t have a cool, special name like that — I still find it noteworthy. So, in true anniversary fashion, I’m going to spend this column looking back to yesteryear and where I was on this day in history.
I remember it as though it happened 365 days ago. After 10 months of living with my parents after my college graduation, I was more than ready to start my own life. My bags were packed, I was ready to go.
I wasn’t leaving on a jet plane, however. Rather, my parents and I had a convoy system for the six-and-a-half hour drive here. I was in the lead in my car, since I had made the trip previously for my interview. Mom drove my parents’ van in the middle, and Dad was in the U-Haul bringing up the rear.
As we neared Madison, Wis., traffic picked up and I was separated from the pack. This was to be expected, and it wasn’t too surprising. We had discussed the route beforehand, and we each knew where to go.
At least I thought I did.
It figures that I, the only one of us who had made the trip before (and who had a GPS in her vehicle) was the one to miss a turn.
As I passed the exit to merge onto Highway 18, something seemed vaguely familiar about that road. I glanced down at the cheat sheet of directions I had made myself, but it wasn’t listed. Although Helga, my mostly trustworthy GPS, was telling me to stay on the current road, there was a little voice in my head telling me I should have exited onto 18. Now, I don’t normally condone using a cell phone while driving, but I called Mom.
“Am I supposed to be on 18?” I asked.
“Aren’t you?” she asked.
“I will be,” I replied before hanging up and keeping my eye out for the next exit, which was about three miles south, so I could head back north to Highway 18.
I may have picked up speed just a little bit. For about the next hour I cruised through scenic Southwestern Wisconsin as I scanned the road ahead for my parents. I let out a cheer as I rounded a bend and saw the silver mini van following the Harriet Tubman U-Haul.
The remainder of the trip after I rejoined the convoy was uneventful and we eventually made it to Mt. Pleasant.
I was ecstatic as I unpacked my stuff and organized it in my new place — putting clothes in my closet, putting dishes in my cupboards and arranging furniture in my living room. I was ready to start my new life, and at the time I thought it was the ultimate milestone I could reach in life.
As the cliché goes, however, life is a journey, not a destination. As I continue to see every day, there are always new challenges and exciting experiences coming to my life.
After seeing what life has brought me in the past year, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.