If you got a quarter for every time I said, "If you told me a year ago that I ...." you would be wealthy. That is, if you put the quarters into your checking account and didn't invest it.
About once a day, I meet someone who asks me how I ended up in Madison. I usually say something along the lines of : I loved it as an adult, always thought of moving here, have family and family history here, etc. I have different variations of the story. Some of my close friends knew I was trying to get here. But I couldn't quite figure out how I was going to do it.
So when I look at my photos on facebook, I am still baffled that I have pictures from the farmer's market and I am standing by the capitol in front of the square in a different lifetime. Now I live two blocks from where I was standing. I never would have believed that I would be living so close to where that photo was taken.
The reason I thought of writing about this is because I made the "If you told me a year ago" comment to my boyfriend on Saturday. (Yes, I finally changed his name. And truthfully, he has been around before this blog. And he doesn't read the blog. But he texts a hell of a lot. And he doesn't twitter. But he has a blog.) He says to me, "God, you say that about everything." And he's right. Because I do. And I was commenting on the fact that we were in Mineral Point - this historical town about 50 miles from Madison, walking past these neat art studios, when I was dying to go into a little toy store. And the truth is if you had told me a year ago that something from above called me into a toy store, I would have told you I would rather go to the dentist. But so much has changed since then. This was no ordinary toy store. This shop was owned by a local woman who also owns a B&B in town. These are no Little Tykes toys. They are more unique than that. I also found this set of wooden play food that you can Velcro together and then chop with a fake wooden knife and cutting board. I always loved that toy. I was too old when I discovered it. So I bought it for my nephew and brought it to him a few hours later.
It's the nephew that lead me to become stimulated by that store. Living so close to him, which, if you told me a year ago that I would, I wouldn't have believed you, I tend to miss him after a few days. He gets excited to see me. When I pulled up in my car he had spotted me, greeted me, and came outside before I got in the house. He gave me a "Oooohh" and a "Wooowwww" when I gave him the toy. He also saw me out when I left a few hours later. He literally walked me to the door.
It's just funny to me that on the eve of my 29th birthday (this will probably be my 1st of many 29th birthdays, by the way), I am finally living where I have wanted to live. When I go running outside in the mornings, not a day goes by when I don't say to myself that I am in such a good place. I have the lake a few blocks from me. I can see the sunrise. Everything is so close to me. I can be at my sister's in a moment's notice. You never run out of things to do. The restaurants are excellent. I can walk to a lot of places. Runners have the right of way. So do bikers. There are a million dog parks. I always have an independent film, art exhibit, happy hour, farmer's market breakfast I can go to. I love my work. I love my friends - old and new. My dog has a ton of friends. I can walk home from the bars at two in the AM, and not worry about drunk drivers. There are zillions of locally owned coffee shops to choose from. I can work all day and still have time to give my dog the exercise she needs, get my running in, and have a social calendar because that is how easy it is to live here. I do not take this lifestyle for granted. I am grateful every day. It's a fabulous life. And you better believe that when I am running in the mornings and I think about how my parents lived down the street from where I live, I think to myself, "If my parents told me that I would be living down the road from where they used to live...."