What to expect: advice for leaving everything you’ve ever known behind

After failing to post for a little over a year, I’m not quite sure where to begin with this particular post. My life is in a sudden state of chaos and I’m pleased with where the unspoken forces of the universe decided to send me. In about a day, I’ll be leaving behind Colorado to pursue my dream fellowship as an investigative reporter in Pheonix, Arizona before heading straight to Singapore for a semester abroad.

Though this might not seem to be of much consequence to a random person on the street,  allow me to explain why this matters to me. (Since this is my blog.. mainly for personal and therapeutic use, I’m allowed to be as selfish as I want.) As a homegrown Colorado Native from the foothills of Conifer, I left home 3 years ago with a lot to learn. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was naive or unprepared, but definitely had lots of room for personal growth and discovery. I was shy and unsure of myself.  Thanks to turbulent times and solid friends, I’ve become the person I am today. For years I’ve yearned to leave Colorado and set off on some whimsical adventure full of unknown dangers and new people. Yet, as I stand on the edge, ready to take the stereotypical leap of faith, it doesn’t quite feel the same way I always thought it would.

Let me spin you a tragically romantic love story. For a little over a year, I’ve been seeing this guy and recently became emotionally attached. Usually, I’m pretty good at cutting ties and staying single, but he managed to sweep me off my feet, both emotionally and at one point physically. We would probably be in a relationship if we both hadn’t agreed long distance is a horrible idea while still in college.

While we were saying goodbye last week, silent tears started unexpectedly streaming down my face. He looked at me and said “You’ll be fine. I promise,” before pulling me into an encompassing hug.

At that moment, I had a stark realization. He misunderstood my concern. I wasn’t so much worried about my personal well-being or success making the move. I’ve got enough faith in myself to adapt smoothly and adjust to changing circumstances. Rather, I was too caught up in the thought of walking away from the people who had helped build me up and help me grow. All these scenarios started running through my head about how nothing might be the same when I come back. What if these people I care about so much simply move on and forget about me? Though it sounds silly to type, it’s a genuine concern. Eight months is a long time.

When speaking with one of my closest friends, Anouk, over a bottle of wine, she shared some of the best advice I’ve gotten in a long time. As a world traveler herself, who isn’t exactly shy when it comes to establishing a new home every few years, she mentioned to me that true friends will be loyal no matter where you are. Though you might not be as close when you’re both away, strong friendships will quickly rekindle once you return for a visit. Also, its okay not to speak every day as long as you both find time to catch up every-so-often when important things happen.  If things happen like they’re supposed to, and you both grow as people in a positive direction, you’ll both have even more to connect on. If not, that friendship simply wasn’t meant to be.

To end this post, my best friend Lauren deserves a legitimate shoutout. Frankly, I doubt any of this would have happened without her guidance or wild ideas. She helps me to push myself, to stay ambitious, and encourage me to embrace forward thinking.  I look forward to her visits within the coming months. As always, we will explore together and run full speed ahead into our future.

 

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