I lived the past year in a weird limbo. I was constantly planning and anticipating the Fall of 2016, I was applying, applying, applying non stop to everything and anything. Trying to put together a more concrete image of what this “bright future” everyone foreshadowed to. I was doing this, AND, I was trying to live in the moment. I went out more, I stared at my friends and tried to memorize their mannerisms. I really tried to sit in the moments. I really tried to compartmentalize all the good things that happened and were happening to me so that when it came time to leave, I could pick up my organized puzzle, put it back in frame or box and walk away scratch free. When really, it was like I had to corner pieces, a few pieces in the middle, and that’s about it. A big unfinished, awkward puzzle. That was senior year. So much happened. People ran in and out of my life. People became more invested in my life, and I felt like I was on, at all times. It was exhausting. It was exhilarating. It was depressing. It created a ton of anxiety. It created a bunch of great memories. It caused a bunch of laughters. It caused a lot of tears.
And I miss it.
Here’s the thing, I knew I would. I knew I would miss Asheville. My friends, my professors, my mentors, my role models. Even the familiar faces that had no real part in my life. I knew that my sappy self would miss all of that, and all of them. But I didn’t expect that I would miss something more than that… and miss it so deeply.
It’s not home, but it’s home ya know?
My definition of “home” was obliterated four years ago. And so I had to construct a new one. Honestly, I’d given up constructing it somewhere around sophomore year because I thought nothing could beat the definition I’d once had. And that’s exactly when it began to form.
Home was no longer a physical place.
My foundation was the memory of the smell of my mothers’ cooking, and the green color I convinced my parents to let the walls of my old room be. It was the memories of walking through a living room and seeing golf on the tv, and my dad snoring away on the couch. It was family lunches and dinners on the weekends. And random jam sessions in the kitchen. These pieces were my pipes.
And then this weird little city called Asheville just started building on top of it. It constructed its own pieces for the home puzzle. It gave me mountains and sights that reminded me of how big God is and how small I am, everyday. It gave me people who’d lived, fought, and felt more than they could teach but who would still try and teach it all anyways. It gave me an environment to work in. It gave me an environment to praise in. It gave me an environment to love in. It gave me an environment to feel safer in. It gave me a new place to call home, and a real address.
This weird little city changed my life, and it wasn’t just school, or church, or any of the organizations I was in or people I knew, it was all of it, every bit, every person combined.
And then they made me start the puzzle over.
Sometimes it astounds me that I wanted to move to New York. I mean I still would love to move to New York, and I think I would have been okay if I had moved there, but my goodness. Moving never comes with warning labels does it?
I always say, I’d rather move some where and have a reason to be there than for me to move just because.
That’s honestly just how my heart works. I’d rather know I have a 2 year program that requires me to be in Chapel Hill, than move to Chapel Hill because I think it’ll turn out ok. I’m not that spontaneous. It’s my life.
And so here I am, a brand new puzzle with brand new pieces. And I even think some of the pieces are missing.
So I’m writing, not because i’ve conquered this. I’m far from conquering it. But because I feel as though people tend to pretend that new things, like moving to a new city is easy. I’m not saying all people do it, I’m saying that we like to portray that this moving in and out of our comfort zone is a piece of cake. We compartmentalize. We try and douse the struggle and thus we barely even get to learn from it, until we move on to the next thing, and have the chance to learn from the struggle again.
So what am I learning from my struggle?
I think that there’s something to learn in the pain we feel when we leave things behind.
I think that leaving positive things behind is beautiful because sometimes we have a chance go back and visit those things, or even better, those people.
I think that hiding behind the puzzle you just put together and ignoring the fact that you have to put together a new one is counterproductive, and extremely draining ( currently working through that).
I think that it is perfectly fine, to not have the instagram picture perfect transition into a new life, or a new place.
Sometimes new beginnings need the chance to really begin.