I awoke to the usual door lock disengaging, freeing my door for the last time. I was excited, nervous and maybe even a little scared. Today was the end of a very important lesson that I gave 15 years of my life to. Within minutes I would take that lesson and leave the life I had come to know in the past. Those times were now just memories in the back of my mind as I moved toward the door and on to a new life.

I approached the chain link gate with even greater excitement and anxiety. The gate began to open, humming as it started to slide sideways with the sound of metal on metal as the gate moved on its roller system. I stepped over to the other side and withdrew all the fresh spring air I could consume in a single breath.

I reunited with my family. All of us were aged, and the children were now grown adults. We started the long five-hour road trip homeward, wherever home might now be. The world was new to me, technology beyond what I could’ve expected. Smartphones that now went above and beyond the capabilities of the first cellphones that I once knew and used. The advancement of self-driving cars, and even the technology of the features inside the car I was currently riding in. Areas that I once knew to be heavily wooded were now bearing modern homes. There was so much to take in during the car ride back to the state, as well as plenty of catching up as my family enlightened me to an entirely new world than I once knew.

Realization began to set in. Everything had changed and I had to begin this new life from scratch. I had no job, no car, no home of my own. I had no idea what the economy was like and where I’d best fit into a new job.

The discomfort of being in a controlled environment that I had become used to began to dissipate as the comforts that I took for granted so many years ago started coming back to me. It was as if I had just stepped in from a frigid, cold winter day, to a warm, filling bowl of vegetable soup.

Emotions were overwhelming as I settled in with my family. Tonight was a long time coming of catching up and spreading love throughout the family. Tomorrow would be a busy day, tomorrow I’d be starting over.

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