As the sun settles down beyond the hills gracing Lake Travis, I sit, watching, contemplating, trying to understand why I have not come back to Texas. There is something in the air, or maybe it’s the belief that there’s something in the air. I do not know which it is. But maybe, quite possibly, it doesn’t matter if it’s in the air or if I am imagining it to be so.
There is something about Texas that is hard to put into words. It’s not just a land that borders Mexico. Oil and cattle might be what made Texas, but it is not what has sustained Texas, for if it was only those two things, Texas would have dried up long ago. There is something about Texas.
For those of us who were raised on the East Coast, Texas conjures up images of restless cowboys, plains, and desert. We might fear the gunslinger, but we don’t respect him. We sure as hell don’t want to live next to him. So the thought of leaving the East Coast for anything but the West Coast is incomprehensible.
The truth about Texas is something very different.
Yet here I sit. After having been gone from Texas and wanting to leave the Washington, DC area for so long, I am now back and I’m left with the question of why has it taken so long for me to do what has been in my heart the whole time.
I could say that I never intended on returning home to the Washington, DC area and that it was only being sent by the Army to Walter Reed that forced my return. But that would only be a reason for me having returned to where I grew up.
I could say that I stayed to go to college. But that’s not completely true. The one school that I wanted to go to above all other schools was the University of Texas at Austin- they accepted me, but I didn’t go because I had made a promise to my ex-wife to go only if she was accepted as well. Yet that was just a factor in staying in the Washington, DC area.
She never applied, but told me that she had.
I could say that I stayed because of the job that I took instead of going to the law school that accepted me because I wanted to be with my wife during our first year of marriage, and then needed to work to pay for her to go to nursing school. Was that a responsibility, a duty? I don’t know, but it’s not the reason why I haven’t returned to Texas.
All too often, we provide excuses and factors as if they were the reason for doing or not doing something. It’s easy for us to do so when we are slowed down by the traps that we build in our minds, the circuitous logic that leads us from our path, and all other forms of trickery that we ourselves build. The truth is, I am the reason for my decision to stay in the Washington, DC area. I made that decision. Only I can change that decision.
It wasn’t easy for me to come to this realization. Wrapped up in a life that most would desire, I kept on pushing down what I wanted to do. What I want to do doesn’t make a whole lot of logical sense. My personal and professional networks are in the Washington, DC area. My family (mostly) and friends (mostly) are in the Washington, DC area as well. I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I have even been pretty successful in the Washington, DC area. And yet, you see, two weeks of calmly watching the sun pass over the hills while puffing on a nice maduro wrapped cigar has reminded me of what has been calling me: Texas.
Maybe it’s something in the air. Maybe it’s nostalgia for a past that no longer exists. But whatever it is, the only way I am going to know for certain is if I pack up my bags and move to Texas. So while I only hope all of you the best, and even though I know Texas isn't the right place for everyone, all I can say is that if you're not following your heart you're in your own hell, but as for me, I plan on going to Texas.