Earlier this week, I posted a kind of gloom & doom post outlining my anxieties about my upcoming move. As I hope you knew, those aren’t my only feelings. Today I’ll share a much happier posts – the things I’m stoked about!
I Get to Focus on Writing More Than Anything Else.
Writing has always been important to me, but it’s never been allowed to be the star of my life. Even in undergrad, creative writing was my minor so I had to schedule deadlines around other classes and student teaching. As a blogger, I write a lot but only when I have a free chance at work. Even the work on my manuscript, which has been the most serious and important content so far in my life, often takes a backseat to adulting responsibilities. For the first time ever, I’m going to be able to focus on my craft and becoming the best write I can be. I can’t describe to you what a gift that is. It trumps everything else on this list.
I’ll Get to Adventure Around California!
My favorite part of moving to a new place is finding little weekend adventures around where you live. Since Texas is such a huge state, that’s been a bit hard. Still, I’ve seen a lot of parts of Texas that I never would have traveled to if I didn’t live here including San Antonio, Port Aransas Beach, Big Bend National Park, Amarillo, Dallas, Houston and more. California is a big state too, but it has a ton of really diverse stuff that I’ll be able to drive to for a long weekend. I plan to hit up a lot of the natural beauty parks like Death Valley and Big Sur. Also want to venture out to Napa and check that off the bucket list, plus I already have plans to attend the Breeder’s Cup this year with some awesome bloggers. Going to do my best to pack in as many dog-friendly, budget weekends as I can into the next two years.
I Will Have an Opportunity to Push Myself.
We don’t know what we’re really capable in life until we push ourselves. I’m pretty proud of how I’ve been able to continue living after Tim died, but the past two years have been mostly survival mode. I did what I needed to in order to survive. Now, I’m faced with an opportunity to take my life into my own hands and really see what I’m capable of. Let’s hope I can accomplish the things I believe that I can.
I’ll Get to Work with Amazing Writers.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and establish myself in a small community of writer’s in Austin. Through them, I’ve realized how amazing writing can be when it comes to learning from others. I’ve met incredible people that I never would have been exposed to otherwise. At UCR, I’m going to meet even more. Professor wise — Emily Rapp Black, Reza Aslan and Jane Smiley are just a few of the names I’ll be brushing shoulders with (PS one of my school goals is to make Jane Smiley my Thoroughbred buddy… because you know – priorities ;)). Plus, the students coming in to the MFA are from all different backgrounds and talents. In programs like these, I believe you learn as much from your fellow students as you do from professors.
I’ll Be Close to LA.
I’ve been told that a lot of UCR MFA students choose to move to LA their second year
once they realize Riverside is a shithole after they get acclimated to the area. I’m not sure that’ll be me because truthfully — I’m not a big LA fan. Still, it’s a huge city with a lot of natural beauty, culture and good food. Having LA within a 45-1hr drive away will be really nice for when I’m tired of small town life. Also, from Riverside I can get to the beach in 45 minutes, the mountains in an hour or the desert in an hour. Despite my big plans to explore greater California, there should be a lot of neat stuff within arms reach for me to take the dogs on adventures or check out something cool in the city.
I’ll Really Start the Next Chapter.
The past two years has been an exercise in pushing through and pondering about what I want to do next in life. Before Tim died, I didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to really start over… and honestly didn’t think I’d ever want that clean slate. But now things are different, and I am changed by the things that have happened to me. Sitting at a desk and creating video game landing pages isn’t offering me what I need out of life. So many times I’ve thought, written about here and chatted with friends about how I didn’t know what I was going to do next. In truth, I still don’t know what will happen. There are a lot of different paths away from this degree, and one of them is right back where I am now working in the tech world. Still, I have a direction and a goal. This move and the new opportunities ahead are a special gift. It’s not a do over, because I don’t regret the choices I’ve made — but it is a do next.
I love Austin so much that it takes a lot to get me excited about leaving the best place I’ve ever lived. The opportunity to study creative writing is that “a lot” for me. Everything else is just an added bonus, and despite the fears I outlined earlier this week — I really am excited.