If you’ve been reading for a while now, you know that I just moved from Washington, D.C. and am in Atlanta (and LA) for the summer before I pack up my bags and head to London for the Fall Semester. With all of this, you can imagine the hoopla that goes on internally. I’m so excited for what’s to come, but it doesn’t mean that at the same time it isn’t hard. It’s hard to leave something you love in the hopes of going to something you think you’ll love.
When I went to college, I had a difficult time wanting to leave because I loved my city, Portland, so fiercely. I was having, what I thought, was the time of my life. I was surrounded by people that I loved and loved me back and was so happy and stress free. I felt nervous that the best days of my life were going to be behind me. What I didn’t realize then though was that this whole concept of “the best” is such crap. We have so many moments and times in our lives, so how are we supposed to choose “the best one”? Each of these moments, the good and the bad, make up who we are. They are the pieces that create how we approach life and how we choose to live. But still, I loved my life exactly as it was and therefore I didn’t want it to change. Change is hard. But it’s necessary. So that you can grow and learn and become more than what you are right now.
When I left D.C. though, it was a little different. When I left Portland, I knew that my life would never be the same. I would never live there with my mom again. I would never have the same friends. Even if I left some of my favorite places and communities, when I would come back to visit, they would never be the same. I knew that the moment I semi-reluctantly, semi-excitedly left Portland, I was also leaving behind the person I was there.
But for me, the reason it’s so hard to say goodbye is because this time, it’s not so much the people that I’m sad to leave behind (there are a few I will dearly miss, but know I will stay in touch with), but rather my experiences. About four months ago, I decided I needed to begin to savor the everyday moments that I had, especially because my time in D.C. was coming to an end. So the way I did that was through exploring the city through the lens of coffee shops (and that’s where the birth of musings over mochas began). But in slowing down to be able to experience the beauty that the city brings, I also began to realize how much I loved it there. It was in D.C. that I found another part of myself: the explorer in me, if you will. And so now, as I am dealing with the reality that I no longer live in D.C., I am faced with a situation just like Portland. I know that I will never be the same as I am now. But what I’ve learned is that that’s a good thing because each time I challenge myself to face change with courage and grace instead of fear and retreat, I slowly add to my toolbox of life lessons. With each new city brings new people to teach you, new places to explore and new lessons to learn.
Change is hard. Even when you know you’re headed towards somewhere equally great. Saying goodbye to D.C. was no exception, but just like when I left Portland, thinking that the best was behind me, I realize that the best is yet to come. And I find comfort in believing that things will be different when I get back, but that’s life. And I’m off to an incredible adventure, so there’s nothing to be sad about. I had my sad moment. But now I choose to be happy. Happy that I had an incredible year in D.C. and happy that I have an adventure in my future and a home to come back to.
Join the conversation below. I’d love to hear your thoughts change and what you do when it’s time to say goodbye.