Current date: Jan. 20, 2002 1:20 p.m. (Atlanta airport)

Subject: Taking a big step forward.

January 20th, 2002
Well, well, well...I have finally left Houston and I am on the way home to spend some time with the fam before heading off on my trip.

So much has gone into the past couple months I find it a bit surreal that I have even come this far. Leaving Houston and my AMAZING friends was pretty difficult..but at the sametime I am aware that I must move forward. The best part is that so did they. I just can't say enough about the support I have gotten from all the wonderful folks I know. This past week has truly been memorable. In general, I make it a point to appreciate how lucky I am to have so many great people in my life...but as I was coming close to my last days in Houston, this became especially important. I had the chance to spend some time with just about everyone and to visit all my favorite watering holes in Houston. I thought one of the best questions/topics of conversation that came up during the past week was what I think were my top 10 moments in Houston. I think I will take a chance to write about that strikes me as a list of things that I need to write about. Anyway, I had such a great time in Houston and as you all know from my letter...i love you all and you all have a special place in my heart.

So I must say that this morning on the way to the airport, I felt an enormous amount of pressure being lifted off my shoulders. I mean, I it was such an axiety filled week, finishing up in the lab and saying goodbye to everyone. I guess the magnitude of what I am about to do really started to hit me. It is a lot of work to pack up your entire life and shift it in another direction. I found myself thinking alot about how difficult this process was going to be and feeling a bit worried about how things will be when I return...and I have to rebuild all the things that I was forced to tear down in order to be able to take this opportunity. I know, those things are very FAR off in the future...but it is a natural human quality to worry...and most of the time those things that we do worry about are of little consequence. I just became a bit afraid, that's all. Not so much that I was thinking of scraping the whole plan...but my mood was definitely affected.

But, as I predicted, now that I have taken this step, I feel much better. I can now start to get excited about this unbelievable adventure that is in front of me. It's always that way when you are going through a major transitional change in is tough to leave behind that world where you seemed to fit in so well, but at the same time, you know the road ahead will be filled with plenty of memorable moments and relationships. That is what it is about though...stretching that comfort zone. It is something that is not exactly the norm here in the good ol' US of A. We become far to comfortable and complacent with what we have. We forget the value and the rewards that come from stretching your comfort zone and choosing the difficult path. Yet another reason that I am going on this trip. I'm uncomfortable as hell right now...and damn does it feel good!!

With that folks, I will close out this message...the beginning of the beginning. I look forward to the next 10 days with great anticipation...but the important thing is that I will keep looking Houston fades into the distance in my rearview mirror.



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