I wore a sweater to work the other day.
I climbed half-naked out of bed with a shiver and noted the morning temperature a brisk 49 degrees. So, I grabbed a light sweater from my closet — the first time I’ve worn one since March or April. Since I first moved to Asheville.
I’ve now called the Blue Ridge home for all four seasons. I remember sitting in training for my job as snowflakes fell outside the window, and now here I am amid the falling leaves of autumn. It is a strange feeling, having survived those winter nights sans heating to humid summer days with open windows and fans and tanktops.
Strange, yet accomplishing, yet all the more strange.
I don’t tend to stick around. I’m a drifter by nature, someone prone to wander.
That I’ve seen all four seasons of the Blue Ridge is significant. The leaves are falling and changing, and I see their transformation as a visible sign that I, too, have changed. Changed for the better.
I need to tell myself this often: I’ve changed. Changed for the better. Because, all too often, I don’t think I have changed. Or, rather, I convince myself I have changed — but for the worse.
I’ve become more cynical about community and belonging. More helpless. More prone to isolation than outreach.
And while this hasn’t been a picture-perfect year, it’s been a year of bountiful firsts.
I’ve become a host on Couchsurfing, inviting over a dozen strangers into my home. We’ve traded stories about travel and life, and I’ve lived vicariously through their epic journeys around the continent and globe.
I’ve worked the same full-time job for 7 straight months, a first, and a true testament of God’s grace and provision. Despite some hard days and crazy moments, my job remains a blessing. Both financially and personally. I’m learning so much about addiction, recovery, coping, identity, and life from these little teenage whirlwinds.
I’ve dog-sat for several co-workers and started riding a bicycle through town. I frequent the coffee shops and local grocery stores, and these little things help me feel more connected to this city.
A city I’m trying so very hard to call home.
It’s tempting to leave. It really is. I feel like a wind-up toy, having been revved up seven months ago and now running on my last clicks and legs. I get tired of the same-old, and the more I work on my #RunningTo book, the more I miss the spontaneous man I used to be.
What else is out there? Who else?
But I do see the value in roots. I see the value in planting and prospering.
It’s been four seasons in the Blue Ridge, and they’re the most beautiful seasons I’ve seen anywhere. I don’t know how many more seasons I’ve got here, but after a sucky few weeks I want to finish this year strong. I want to take more initiative in the next 90 days, like a resolute Tom of old.
I want to commit to a church.
I want to join a weekly men’s group.
I want to join a Christ-based recovery group.
I want to finish writing my #RunningTo book.
I don’t want to just cross days off a calendar. I want to add moments to each day and live a full life with no regret.
Maybe I am meant to meander from this place soon. To wander again. Gosh, I (still) miss the road.
But if I ever leave these beautiful Blue Ridge seasons behind, I can’t stand the thought of leaving any cards on the table. I must give this place a fair shot — the place, the people.
The seasons. From the height of springtime to the chill of autumntide and everything in between.