Moving out for the first time. What a strange and liberating experience. There are few other moments like it in your life. Where you get to discover who you are. Not who you are under your parents rule, or even in high school, but simply who you are without all the limitations and boundaries.
The morning I was to depart from home to college was quite a strange one. It felt like any other day waking up. But when I went to the living room after last minute packing I found my mother with her sad eyes and pink robe, drinking a cup of coffee and staring into oblivion, while my father sat on the other side of the room waiting to help move to a town 45 minutes away from the comfort of their nest.
The feelings filled the air with a bitter sort of metallic taste. No one wanted this on their mind, the burden of it was growing to heavy. It was a strange change and omen of what was to come, for I am the oldest and this was just the first of three departures from the house. But my ecstasy of moving on could hardly be controlled.
My fist place was nothing special really. It was just another college campus dorm room. Brown Hall at good ol’ Arkansas Tech, or if you were into calling it by it’s nick name it’d be, Brown Town at Redneck Tech, you decide. We decorated it’s four stone walls and tile floor as best as we could. There isn’t much you can do to something that resembles a prison cell to make it feel homey. We did our best though by laying a carpet on the floor and hanging strands of Christmas lights from the ceiling to illuminate our abode. They were better than the harsh artificial light the room was equipped with.
My roommate and I even decided to spice up our name tags hanging on the outside of our doors. Ya know the ones that your RA makes up for you to let the rest of the hall know who lives there? Well we put our own twist on them. We made our own custom name tags, complete with the most awkward pictures of us that we could think up. And we took multiples to change them out every week or two.
The first batch consisted of us switching outfits with each other. Which is funnier than it sounds for he was a bigger guy and I am a bit smaller. It was a site to see, him squeezing into my shirt, and his shorts hanging from a belt cinched up as tight as it could. Needless to say my shirt still doesn’t fit quite the same.
The second weeks shenanigans were of me laying shirtless at his feet, posed as a model on my side, while he creepily stared into the camera holding his guitar backwards and the wrong way. They made no sense but we had fun with them, and occasionally we’d hear people chatting about them outside our door way. We’d completed our mission.
The first year at that new place was one of the best of my life however. Moving out was never what I’d imagined it would be. I didn’t know to prepare for what was to come. The sheer feeling of growing up, on a scale I didn’t know was possible. Which I attribute to simple independence. For with independence comes responsibility. You don’t have anyone to make sure you wake up in the morning and go to school, or to cook you dinner, or occasionally do your laundry. That’s all on you. Curfews become a thing of the past, and you no longer have anyone to tell you no if you want to do something casual or extremely stupid.
I simply grew up that first year away. It’s hard for me to even conjure up an image of who that Jeremy was from pre-college, before my first place, and before all those adventures that were had in it and around it. I realized who I was. For I simply had more time and space to explore that now. I was learning what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. What hobbies interested me, and what I really liked and wanted as a person. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life.
Who I am today will always be tied to 124 Brown. It was my stomping ground, to pound out the me of the future. To lay down the laws of personality, and achievement that would guide me for the times to come. There really is nothing like moving out.