by Tab Moura
When I was a senior, my family moved across the country to Montana. If you remember an earlier article I wrote about growing up in Louisiana, this is what came next. I went from fireflies and bayous to more stars in the sky than I’d ever seen before. At least that’s the postcard version. Like any normal teenager being forced to move across the country at 17, I was handling this super well. *forced grin*
I found a job after a few weeks, hoping to make friends, and quickly learned that the job I scored was a coveted gig. Naturally, I didn’t make many friends, but I was so thankful I had this outlet while dealing with my feelings around moving. Another great outlet was my relationship with my younger sister. We were the youngest of 5 kids, everything about this move put us in unfamiliar territory. We weren’t really friends before our move, this was my first time to really have the full responsibility of being a big sister. No others to deflect to. Now that we were in Montana, a place with roughly 7 people per square mile, we had to become allies.
While our bond was rocky, we actually made a lot of good memories in Montana. One night, late in the summer, we hatched an idea. Our house didn’t have central air, due to the climate… but we were living in those few weeks a year where AC would have been super helpful. Our parents were ministers at a local church, so there was a little pressure to at least make sure we didn’t draw the wrong kind of attention.
Our house was across from a golf course; we had upset them before when our dog got loose, so you’ll understand my dilemma. As I looked out the window of our bedroom, I saw that the sprinklers were running on the golf course. As a freshly promoted big sister, I knew it was my responsibility to do the next most logical thing… sneak out of the house and run through the cold sprinklers.
It’s important to know that while I am definitely rebellious enough to do this, my stealth was shattered as we muffled our screams. The golf course’s water pressure was like that of a pressure washer. It’s safe to say our jaunt wasn’t such a secret by the time we got back inside. I think back to the many times I moved states as a kid, and for the first time in my life, I see so much purpose in the displacement and transitions I experienced at a young age. I’ve felt displaced for a year, in my own city. Disconnected and confused, as I wrote recently in Miles To Go, it’s hot out here and we’re all having very different experiences depending on our cars (or houses.) What I didn’t share in that article is what to do while you wait. There isn’t a single right answer… only a moral mandate that you wait well. Not on my account, but your own.
You only have one life, now is the time to do something new, now is the time to prioritize laughter, now is the time to run through the sprinkler and piss off your parents— metaphorically, of course. While things are changing, don’t forget what has stayed the same… you have so many more memorable moments on the horizon. I’ll see you there.