Today was the first day word was actually mentioned about moving out of our house. I've known it's been coming, but today was the first day it's been talked about as something that is actually happening in the foreseeable future. Whoa.
For those of you that need a back story, I've lived with some of my best friends for the last two and a half years in a fantastic house right across the street from campus. For two years, it was me and three of my best girlfriends. Living with Courtney, Meghan, and Brielle is something I truly cherish and wouldn't change the opportunity for anything. Brielle graduated in four years (who does that?) and so two boys moved in, which has been awesome in its own funny and wildly entertaining ways.
In the past, I have freaked, like totally freaked, at any sense of oncoming change. It's Saturday night at 1:15. I worked until 11:30 and decided to not go out. Here I am. My heart is starting to race a little at the thought of leaving my "home" so here I sit, typing on my laptop once again.
To start, I need to distinguish "home" from "home home". This is something we've come up with over the years. Our house, 41 Williamsburg, is "home". "Home" is where our best friends are who have quickly turned into family. "Home" is where we have built memories, laughed together, cried together, fought together. "Home home" is where we go to over the holidays. It feels weird to call it our "parents' house" because that gives the sense that we're established adults who don't go home; they go to their parents' place. No way. Not yet. "Home home" is where Mommy and Daddy are. It's where we grew up. It's comfort. But, "home", "home" is this place.
I'm trying a new thing. As I think about it a little more, my heart beats just a little faster knowing I have to learn how to acknowledge and accept change. We all know I'm not the best at this, but who is? I'm looking at the positives...but really looking at them. Moving out of this place is going to be hard, like really hard. I'm dreading the moment I close the front door for the last time.
So, let's look at the positives. Let's think about all the beautiful, fantastic, hysterical memories we've made from this place. Here we go.
Brielle, remember when you and I were the only ones home getting ready to go out blasting Beyonce? You danced on the kitchen counter.
Remember when we all watched Paranormal Activity and then Nick hid in my closet? For some reason I threw a tuna can at him.
Remember when we did No-Shave November and practically clogged the drain on December 1st?
Remember all the times we used each other's closets as our own?
Remember that time I made you guys "apple cider" and put in chocolate wine?
Remember that time the cops came and we talked to him outside wearing our prom dresses?
And when piggy-backs on New Years' Eve seemed appropriate?
Remember when we thought (or maybe just I did) that there was a cat in our walls so we investigated the attic?
Remember that time we played to "roommate game"?
Remember when we played Buzz and made number 8 something we probably shouldn't have?
Remember that time we made really great togas?
Remember our Christmas card?
Remember all those times that the four of us have somehow managed to accidentally match our outfits?
Remember when we painted our chalkboard wall?
Remember our first "formal"?
Remember when we posed like animals at our Christmas party?
And don't forget our super awesome Christmas tree.
And the day you guys threw me my 21st birthday party? That was the best day of my life.
Remember that time Courtney did this...
And then there's this...
And remember when we thought taking pictures like this was normal?
And you can't forget about Brielle...
And say "hello" to Joho...
We would even advertise "41" anywhere we could...
Enough for now. I think you get the picture. Over the years, we've gained quite a few memories. Sometimes I wish I could go back and re-live it all over again. Other times I just remind myself how thankful I am to have these memories with such incredible people. The last two and a half years have gone faster than I could have ever imagined and the idea of leaving in only a little over a month from now kind of freaks the crap out of me. It will happen. Days will pass and so will weeks. The day will come when I close the door for the last time, but I will not be closing the door on my "home", my family, my memories.
Take a look at yourself now. Compare that self to yourself five years ago. Hopefully, some things have changed.
They say if you leave college the same way you went in, you did something wrong.
This concept shouldn't stop with college, though. Every day, we are learning, growing, changing. We learn everything from dealing with spilled milk to dealing with the death of a loved one. Where ever this learning occurs does not matter; what matters is that we are learning.
Thinking about my 18 year old self seems like both forever ago and just yesterday. But, when I think about everything that's happened in those five years, it is quite a handful. Yeah, I've always been a happy-go-lucky girl who has great friends and plays softball, but I have definitely grown up. Five years ago, the thought of going away to school was slightly terrifying. Now, I'm considering graduate school even further away. Five years ago, I could confidently navigate myself around a 20 mile radius in North Jersey. Now, I'm mastering the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway (though I still get lost sometimes). Five years ago, I was blissfully unaware of the diversity that comes from meeting new people and going new places. Now, the people and places that have come into my life have influenced me and inspired me to be who I am today.
So maybe now, I'm able to cut the cord from Mommy and Daddy, drive up and down the good old state of New Jersey, and have diversity in my back pocket. But that's only the surface.
I invite (and encourage) you to think about how you got to be who you are today. Hopefully, the reasons are mostly good. Some are bound to be bad, and that's okay.
Think about the people that make you happy day after day. Keep them around.
Think about the places that inspire you to travel and learn. Go there again and try new places too.
Think about the days you inspired someone else. Do it again. And again. And again.
Think about it all.
Be thankful for these experiences. They've shaped you into being "you".
Five years may seem like a long time. But when you're not thinking about it as a matter of time, but as a matter of experiences, it puts it into a whole different perspective.
Change freaks me out. I've literally never been good at dealing with it. I joke that it goes back to when Mommy and Daddy sat me down in 5th grade to tell me that we were moving to New Jersey. I went bananas. Then when 8th grade softball was over, I thought the world was practically going to end. My next major catastrophe was probably the end of high school. Knowing that all of my best friends weren't going to be within a five minute drive, I cried like a baby the night before my best friend, Toni, went away to college. And, through it all, believe it or not, I SURVIVED. New Jersey is pretty cool. I still play softball. And I'm still best friends with the important ones from high school. So why do I always freak out?
The way I see it, years 22-25 (ish) of a person's life are just wacky. They are such a transition period, thus, such a huge change. Like I've mentioned, some very important people in my life have graduated college and I'm starting my fifth year. Next year, I may be going to some strange place only God knows where for Graduate School. And then after that, where am I going to get a job? I think about this nonsense far too much. For years, I've always felt like I was just born to be a Mom and to be grown up. And as much as I absolutely love college and loved high school and everything in my life, I just can't wait to be settled down and know where my life stands. I don't like all of this unknown for the next few years. It's weird.
But why do people just freak out about the "big" changes? In reality, change happens every day. We are always doing different things, meeting different people, going different places. It seems like "life" is constantly throwing these little changes at us- the ones we barely recognize, and then when something major happens, we don't know how to handle it.
I'm a big believer in the idea that "life" is a series of preparations for one thing or another.
When you're 6 years old, you get a pet fish. You learn responsibility. It dies. You learn how to say good-bye. You move on.
When you're 10 you can get a rabbit. Same thing. Grander scale. You move on.
A few years later, you get your first girlfriend or boyfriend. You learn trust. You break up. You learn how to say good-bye again. You move on.
You get cut from a team. A loved one dies. You move. You fight with your best friend. Your car breaks down. Etc. Etc. Etc. You move on.
For 22 years, I've been practicing how to deal with change, and it still doesn't sit well. However, I always come out on top on the other side. I always "get over it" and end up absolutely loving where I am, almost no matter where I am or who I'm with. So once again, why is change so hard for me when I'm always okay when it's over and done with?