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I got married for the first time when I was 17 years old. I went from that marriage straight into another relationship and subsequent marriage.

I have never been “alone”.

And I think that’s been one of those “what if” things for me for a long time.

I don’t regret my daughter. Or even my first marriage. I don’t regret my current marriage. The fact that I wonder about how my life might have been different does not somehow diminish the life I have or have had.

I’m learning how to live in a mindset where ideas are not always mutually exclusive. Binary. And that has set me on a much happier path.

When I got in my car this morning, I felt a nervous anticipation. Almost 700 miles, alone. It was challenging to my stamina, my nerves, and my mind.

Because I’m still fighting this depression thing. Hard. And I wasn’t sure if I should go through with this plan that I knew was going to exhaust me so much.

By the time I made it through Atlanta, my nerves were shot from the traffic. My head was throbbing. It seemed like I was stuck in time, driving on a treadmill.

I pulled over outside of Augusta and grabbed some water, a sugar fix, and some flip flops (because I forgot mine). I took some Aleve, turned off the radio for the first time all day, and just drove. Alone with my thoughts.

Slowly, the scenery began to change. It became obvious I was entering coastal territory. When I stepped out of my car at the hotel, the wind nearly knocked me over.

I made my way to my 7th floor view, went straight to the balcony door, pulled it open, and drank in what I drove 11 hours to see. The Atlantic Ocean in all her unencumbered glory.

I’m laying here now, on the bed, listening to the waves.

I sat here in silence for a while. And I was moved to tears.

Because I faced some fears today. Some I can’t really explain, but this experience was about more than me just taking a long road trip by myself to prove I could do it.

I heard one of my old favorite Reba McIntire songs today. One that left a lasting impact on me when I was a kid. It became a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy for me when I went back to school several years ago.

Today, when I heard the familiar lyrics, it made me smile:

She’s always lived for tomorrow,

She’s never learned how to live for today.

Oh she’s dying to try something foolish, to do something crazy, or just get away

Something for herself for a change

Is there life out there?

So much she hasn’t done

Is there life beyond her family and her home?

She’s done what she should, should she do what she dares?

She doesn’t want to leave, she’s just wondering is there life out there.