When you're a kid, and your parents talk about things that happened twenty, or thirty, or more years ago, it seems like an impossibly long time. Now that it's been an impossibly long time since I was a kid, I find myself saying these sorts of things all the time.*
Large Southern University has been at the center of my life off and on for an improbably long time, given that a younger me once moved 8 times in one year. I found my professional calling there, met my closest friends, learned more than I can even begin to describe. It is as much my home as the house I grew up in.
Later this month I will leave my office for the last time, and start a new adventure in a new place -- one with seasons, terrain, and a single digit student-to-teacher ratio. Biscuit and I will be leaving for the Show Me State, after almost 30 years in Bayou Country. I will be working on a campus that one can see all at one time, after spending most of my life on one that takes 45 minutes to walk across. My new job is 90% teaching, where my current is almost 100% research. I guess what I am saying is, it's going to be different.
I am excited about my new job, and the move. It is closer to family (when did that become a desirable thing?), day trip distance to some of my favorite places, and I love to teach. Did I mention I will be teaching game development? I like games. The town seems nice, and our new house has a garage. And a basement.
As much as I like it when things change, one doesn't live anywhere this long without filling up a life -- at least if you're doing it right. We will miss our friends, and the food, drive-through daiquiri shops, neighborhood parades, Mardi Gras, and much more. Mostly I will miss familiarity. It's good to know where everything is, and the parts of town to avoid when driving there. I've been getting my hair cut by the same person for twenty years (there I go again). This move will mean a new dentist, vet, dry cleaner, and HVAC service company. Restaurants, paint stores, and neighbors all need to be rediscovered and integrated.
Years ago, I was amazed -- and frankly a little concerned -- when my 75 year old father decided to start a new firm. Now I think I get it. Opportunities come when and where they will. We can choose to do what's next, or we can stay planted, clinging to the familiar. For me, it's time for a change. In the words of the immortal Roy McAvoy (Tin Cup), you ride her until she bucks or you don't ride at all.
Wish us luck, and if you're ever in flyover country, stop in for a glass of tea and a shot of white lightning. But definitely call first. I may be out trying to find a front license plate holder.
* Don't even start the "I have underwear older than that" contest. I am simultaneously proud and horrified at how well prepared I am for this game. I really need to clean out my drawers (heh).