October is traditionally a time of great reflection and new beginnings for me.

Earlier in life, it was the time that the new school year stopped seeming quite so new, when the weather got nice, and when it was time for the fair–which always made me feel like a kid again, long after I’d stopped really being one. It was when I moved to Charlotte in 1986 and San Francisco in 1992, and it was when I began my career as a librarian in 2009. It was in October that I first met the love of my life in 2001 (and October again nine years later when that relationship really began to break down in earnest). And October has always been my favorite time of year to travel.

Now I’m starting my forty-eighth October. The weather has been lovely and the school year is once again becoming less new. I stopped going to the fair after the last three or four times because it doesn’t make me feel like a kid anymore. I’m not moving this year, but I’m starting my third year in this new career and doing quite well with it. And I’m alone again, which may be best for everyone involved–but that doesn’t make it any easier.

As in so many Octobers past, I’m also about to be traveling and pondering the future on a far away highway. I’m probably expecting too much from a simple road trip, but this one is extremely important to me. I need some time to be alone outside my everyday environment. I need to remember that there’s a world outside my little protective cocoon of home, work, and the highway connecting the two. I need to think about what that world means to me, about what my place in it might be, and about how I might proceed in order to get rolling on the next phase of my life. I need to get back in touch with me as an individual (rather than “me as a son” or “me as an ex-husband”) and what is important to my own happiness. I need to stop thinking so much about where I’ve been and start thinking about where I’m going.

And I need something…anything…that makes me feel like a kid again.