It isn’t easy to get rid of most of your belongings, pack the rest in boxes and say goodbye to friends, family and a city you call home. It is an exciting and terrifying feeling to drive along roads and realize you finally know exactly where they lead, only to remember moments later that you have a one way ticket out of this place.
As I write this, I’m looking forward to a last weekend blowout with some pretty amazing girlfriends. I can’t help but dread the inevitable Saturday-night-post-gin-and-
But I’m mostly happy. Because if it’s hard to leave this place I must have had one hell of a time here. Someone once told me, during travels many years ago, that the awful feeling you get when you move on–the tears, the desperation, the knowledge of knowing you will never be in that exact moment with those exact people and your exact self again–is a positive thing. It means you are really living. You are fully experiencing those precious times and you are learning and becoming a more well-rounded person because of them.
It reminds me of summer camp. Where you spend hours trading addresses, promising to send letters and scheming reunions. Then parents pull up in mini vans to take you home and you spend the entire car ride telling stories of getting lost in the woods, learning to do a backflip off the diving board, or how so-and-so fell off her horse but you never did because you’re a better rider. Those friendships you make, sometimes in a matter of days, mean so much at the time. You can’t think of anything worse than not seeing these kids who shared all those experiences with you every day. Then the feeling is replicated and magnified when you study abroad, go to college, get your first job and move away. You say goodbye so many times, but that doesn’t mean you leave everything behind. Looking ahead, I can see that I will go through that transition many more times, but it makes me excited instead of wary. I look forward to meeting more people who will touch me in such a way and encourage me to embrace new perspectives.
I remember my friend’s words as I prepare to leave a place I love once again, and am comforted by the thought that all these people have impacted me in positive ways. And, of course, by the knowledge that I will be back and even though it won’t be exactly the same, I plan to see them all again soon.