Monday, January 28, 2013

Accidents, Great Friends, and New Beginnings

Sometimes things happen by accident that change your life forever. I know the word “accident” tends to have a negative connotation, like a car accident or a getting-bucked-off-the-pony accident. I’m an accident-prone person, just ask my health insurance provider (or my parents).

But I’ve learned that not all accidents are bad. For example, I always say I ended up with the aforementioned pony by accident, and despite the fact that he did buck me off and broke my pelvis in the process, my life has been richer because of him. So he was a good accident.

And then there’s the job I got by accident.

How do you get a job by accident? Well, first you start with a really great friend who doesn’t want said job, knows it’s exactly the kind of thing you are good at and like to do, and is willing to send your resume in place of his own.

And that’s why I’m moving to Raleigh, North Carolina after graduation. With a great, well-paying job, working for IBM in the Triangle area. By accident.

I wasn’t actively looking for jobs, even though I probably should have been. I wasn’t even thinking beyond graduation. That unknown limbo was too scary to contemplate, so the farthest I’d gone was, “Hey, ARL will probably keep me after I graduate.” I have lived in State College all my life, and never really considered leaving. And I’ve never lived completely on my own, even when I was in the dorms on campus, because I’d always come home on weekends and during the week on the way out to the barn. I still brought my laundry home.

My dad changes the oil in my car. He knows when it needs to be inspected and he knows where to take it. When it needs to go in, we trade cars. He lubed my bike for me and he keeps the tires inflated. My mom makes sure we always have peanut butter and cereal. She does all of our laundry (including my sister’s). My dad cleans the bathrooms and mops the floors, my mom shampoos and vacuums the rugs. She makes cookies and brownies and all sorts of goodies.

Moving more than eight hours away, starting a new job, and taking on all these little responsibilities myself is scary. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking. But I can’t live with my parents forever, however convenient that might seem. And lately I’ve been feeling like I just need to get out of here. That, combined with the subzero weather last week (it was 30+ degrees warmer in Raleigh), probably nudged me to accept the offer.

Of course I’ll miss State College, seeing my family every day, and especially riding. Eventually, maybe Sydney can move with me, but until I get things figured out it’s probably best that he stay where I know he’ll be well cared for (if fat and lazy). The last thing I want to do is haul him somewhere completely foreign, only to be neglected because I find I can’t handle caring for myself as well as a four-legged eating machine. But I’ll count the days until I feel like I can find a balance.

Is it scary? Yes. But this is an accident that I’m also excited about. It’s like an adventure. I know it will be hard, but there are no rewards without challenges. And since a job at IBM seems like a heck of a reward, I KNOW there will be challenges. But it’s time.

So, goodbye Pennsylvania license plates, hello North Carolina driver’s license! I’ll be baking in the hot sunshine this summer, just two hours from Virginia Beach and close to some gorgeous mountains as well. A chapter of my life is ending, but a new one is starting, and I can’t wait to write it.
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