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At the dinner table one night, after my sister and her family announced they were moving into town, my father raised his glass and toasted to new beginnings.
Wiping the slate clean and starting fresh probably isn’t considered an art form but it should be, in my opinion.
I love the characters in books and movies who dream of shucking the current state of their life and hitting the road. They yearn to travel down a strip of asphalt that runs off into the horizon and what awaits them beyond that vanishing point is anyone’s guess.
I love the opening passage from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas;” Hunter S. Thompson and his lawyer charge along the barren desert road, wired on drugs and anticipation for what awaits them in Sin City.
And one of my favorite parts of “On the Road” occurs when Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady steal a car and drive like crazy to party at a jazz club in Chicago.
Those scenes in the movie, “Thelma and Louise,” when the two unlikely heroines take their convertible through beautiful, wide open spaces in Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona have always stuck with me.
In all these stories, it seems the characters were discontented with their lives – Thompson was broke in California, Kerouac dreamed of going west while living in New York and Thelma and Louise were suffocating in a male-dominated world.
But they all had the guts to change things. They escaped their disappointing lives, and took to the open road, which seems to be the essential medium to make a new beginning.
Starting fresh is not just a theme found in fiction, it happens in the real world, too. It’s easy to find the lousy things in life, but it is difficult to find the gumption to make a change.
I should know; I stewed in frustration for almost three years in a job I did not care for before I was finally forced to make a change.
So it is with admiration and pride that I say to my sister and her family who packed up their things and journeyed down that road to see where it will lead them, congratulations and good luck.