Almost two months ago I loaded up my car, stuffing as many of my belongings into the backseat and trunk as you can possibly fit into a Volkswagen Jetta, and started the 1500 mile drive from my home in Columbus, GA to Denver, CO. I had prepared my roommate who was making the trip with me ahead of time: “I’m a crier. This first half an hour could get rough.” We grabbed our coffees and headed out-of-town. Nothing. I started driving and didn’t even think about looking back. Maybe it was knowing that I would be back in just over a month to pick up the rest of my stuff or that I was excited about the adventure that was ahead. Maybe it was all the struggles I had faced in the previous semester that I was ready to escape or that I was excited to see my family after living so far away. Most likely it was because I had my best friend and partner in crime in the passenger seat and I was terrified that my car was going to completely break down with the load it was having to carry across the country. Nothing happened. No tears. No heartbreak. No longing to turn around, pondering the “What ifs”, or regretting the decision I had made. We made it to Colorado with no major issues (Praise the Lord!) and I quickly settled into my summer home.
Three weeks ago I went back to pick up the last of my belongings and help my roommates clean up before we vacated. At that time it finally hit me: I was leaving. I stood alone in my apartment before heading to the airport to catch a flight back to Denver checking to make sure that I wasn’t leaving anything behind. The place wasn’t lavish, but we had made it home and there were so many memories that it held. Dance parties, many meals, love, heartbreak, healing, friendship. I had lived in Columbus for nearly a decade at that time. I had graduated high school and college there. I had fallen in love, broken hearts, grown up, and found myself in that small city. I was leaving behind my best friends, mentors, and people I loved. Locking the door and walking down those steps knowing that it was the last time that I would call Columbus my home was heartbreaking. It took everything I had to stay composed that drive to the airport.
In the weeks since I have learned that maybe moving on in life isn’t always so sweet and simple. I continue to miss my friends and my old home. I think I always will a little bit, but that it will get better with time. I find that the “What if” and other troubling questions come a little less often than they did when I first got back. I try to remember that I felt called to come here, and I must follow that calling no matter what the struggles may be. I have learned to stay busy and find solace in the little things (Dear cute little planner, you complete my day sometimes). I find company in my coworkers and love being at work where there are more people my age and I feel less alone. And of course going back to exploring Denver and its surroundings has reignited my desire for adventure. I’m currently mapping out all the other places that I have to go before it’s back to school at the end of August.
While things seem hard, I know that the future looks bright. I know that once I get to Boulder for school in the fall I will meet plenty of new people who, just like me, are trying to recreate themselves in a new city. I will find out where I’m supposed to be, things will begin to fall into place, and the questions will all answer themselves. Plus I will have bought a plane ticket back to Georgia to escape the grueling Colorado winter and attend my best friend’s wedding! Until then I will continue to pray for guidance and comfort, take pride and trust in the decision I have made, and learn that moving on is a process you take one day at a time.