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I’ve been back in Nashville for three weeks now, and I can’t say that I’m not happy with my decision to return. I’m close to my family, and I’ve been able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen – or even talked to, really – in years. My new job is going well so far, even though the majority of it has simply been onboarding, and I’m looking forward to my future in my medical career.

But there’s this little nagging thing inside my head: I’m lonely.

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28 day challenge

ZOMG. Okay, so I might be a little excited about my next challenge because I absolutely love what I’ll be covering. Although I’ve listened to podcasts for years, I was never really a regular audience member, eagerly awaiting each episode, but after bingeing the first arc of The Adventure Zone, I was hooooooooked. 

The podcast started as kind of a one-off episode on the McElroy brother’s primary podcast, My Brother, My Brother, and Me (or as McElroy stans call it, MBMBAM “ma-bim-bam”), and it got such a positive response that they just created The Adventure Zone instantly. The three brothers – Justin, Travis, and Griffin – and their father, Clint, get together and play D&D, and while it sounds like you have to be a nerd to enjoy it, I say, “Nay! You do not!” You’ll get just as swept up in the incredible story and feel emotions for disembodied voices more quickly than a kobold is cleft in twain by a barbarian’s sword. 

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Earlier this week, I loaded my life into a rental truck and drove back to a place I once dreamed of escaping. Whether or not I stay in the town I loathed for so many years is undetermined, but for now, I will call Nashville, TN, home again, something I never thought I’d say, even a year ago.

No place is perfect, I’ve discovered in my time away. Although I loved Louisville and its almost violent adherence to “keeping itself weird,” the town refuses to grow, leaving food deserts in its most vulnerable areas and fighting major improvements because the old, white residents don’t like change. Columbia, SC, was probably not as bad as I remember it, but it’s clouded by traumatic memories, despite its natural beauty and proximity to the beautiful beaches of Charleston. I’ve already been warned about the traffic and expensive housing that came with Nashville’s exponential growth, two things I’ve managed to experience first hand in the few days since I’ve been here.

But I’m back … a little overwhelmed with all the sudden changes in my life, but I can’t say I’m not happy. I look forward to living in a house with a friend, his adorable dog, and my two cats, to starting a new job on Tuesday, to reconnecting with old friends, and to beginning a new chapter in my life that I couldn’t have imagined or, really, even hoped for.

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It’s currently midnight, and I feel like I’m in the beginning of some tragic Edgar Allen Poe novella: dark and rainy, wind moaning in such a way that it could nearly be mistaken for a human. One of my cats is darting back and forth frantically with each creak of the magnolia bough just by my bedroom window, while the other hides under the bed, terrified of whatever he saw on the ceiling just a few minutes prior (they don’t handle even the weakest of storms very well). I just gingerly took a sip of my hot apple cider, freshly made, and stare at the corner of the room where packed cardboard boxes are eerily illuminated by the orange glow of my salt lamp.

Make no mistake, though: I am happy. Because as of the stroke of the clock, I start the year off fresh.

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