On Being a Newbie

It’s said kids are resilient. I’d serve as a decent case study. Between birth and 18 I moved around in the neighborhood of I suppose a dozen times. Mostly within a radius of 100 miles. Not Army brat or kid-of-a-coach numbers but respectable. Even more impressive to the case study point is that my moves were always a byproduct of being in a working-class dysfunctional, troubled family.

New neighbors, new friends, new classrooms, even new parental structures peppered the first decade of my life. I survived, perhaps even thrived? What I do know is the first ten years paved the way for the past twenty-five which has covered countless cities, towns, suburbs and neighborhoods spanning seven states.

Remaining solidly working-middle-class I’ve had limited opportunity to be a world traveler or a take-a-month-off backpacker. My opportunities have included dozens and dozens (and dozens) of long weekend trips within a drivable range of each new residence experiencing places I’d never have selected if I lived hundreds of miles away. Other opportunities include meeting new people at every turn; some who make recurring appearances as time moves forward.

Today I met another group at yet another Saturday morning running group meeting spot. This is the smallest of the last few groups (eight); a couple said it was due to the weekend, a couple said it was due to a run of out-of-town transfers over the past 12-18 months. That first round of handshakes and exchanges is always the most uncomfortable. After that it’s the all too familiar routine of sweat and stories. Apparently neither were terribly off-putting to my new group as it was almost assumed I’d join them for rounds of coffee immediately following. Hoping as much I’d brought a full change of clothes along with a big post-run drink so I’d be relatively smell-free and coherent after being put through my paces.

I like most of the challenges of being the new guy. Not all; but most. I’d like to think through the years of miles I’ve left each group with just a little more than I’ve taken from them. Here’s to fast-forwarding six months when the next guy comes along to take my place.