ARTICLE

One year and counting

By STEPH TAHTINEN


Mt. Pleasant News


The day this column is printed marks the one-year anniversary of the day I moved to Mt. Pleasant. True, it may not be a milestone celebration like some of the others that have been happening recently ? T.T.T.?s centennial, the Civil War sesquicentennial or First United Methodist Church?s dodransbicentennial come to mind.


However, while my anniversary may not be as big ? it doesn?t have a cool, special name like that ? I still find it noteworthy. So, in true anniversary fashion, I?m going to spend this column looking back to yesteryear and where I was on this day in history.


I remember it as though it happened 365 days ago. After 10 months of living with my parents after my college graduation, I was more than ready to start my own life. My bags were packed, I was ready to go.


I wasn?t leaving on a jet plane, however. Rather, my parents and I had a convoy system for the six-and-a-half hour drive here. I was in the lead in my car, since I had made the trip previously for my interview. Mom drove my parents? van in the middle, and Dad was in the U-Haul bringing up the rear.


As we neared Madison, Wis., traffic picked up and I was separated from the pack. This was to be expected, and it wasn?t too surprising. We had discussed the route beforehand, and we each knew where to go.


At least I thought I did.


It figures that I, the only one of us who had made the trip before (and who had a GPS in her vehicle) was the one to miss a turn.


As I passed the exit to merge onto Highway 18, something seemed vaguely familiar about that road. I glanced down at the cheat sheet of directions I had made myself, but it wasn?t listed. Although Helga, my mostly trustworthy GPS, was telling me to stay on the current road, there was a little voice in my head telling me I should have exited onto 18. Now, I don?t normally condone using a cell phone while driving, but I called Mom.


?Am I supposed to be on 18?? I asked.


Pause.


?Aren?t you?? she asked.


?I will be,? I replied before hanging up and keeping my eye out for the next exit, which was about three miles south, so I could head back north to Highway 18.


I may have picked up speed just a little bit. For about the next hour I cruised through scenic Southwestern Wisconsin as I scanned the road ahead for my parents. I let out a cheer as I rounded a bend and saw the silver mini van following the Harriet Tubman U-Haul.


The remainder of the trip after I rejoined the convoy was uneventful and we eventually made it to Mt. Pleasant.


I was ecstatic as I unpacked my stuff and organized it in my new place ? putting clothes in my closet, putting dishes in my cupboards and arranging furniture in my living room. I was ready to start my new life, and at the time I thought it was the ultimate milestone I could reach in life.


As the cliché goes, however, life is a journey, not a destination. As I continue to see every day, there are always new challenges and exciting experiences coming to my life.


After seeing what life has brought me in the past year, I can?t wait to see what the next year brings.