1. Because when you dismally surrendered to sitting at the empty table alone during lunch, you discovered that the designated 8th grade bully who invited you to eat with her, really wasn’t the monster your fellow pre-pubescent classmates labeled her to be.
2. Because driving away from the house you spent your entire childhood in, with tears uncontrollably streaming down your face, taught you to appreciate your past experiences, where you came from, and how it provided you with an untouched viewpoint on life, which you will carry with you forever.
3. Because moving into a land of a new perspective teaches you that no matter how much you “hate the southern mindset,” or believe “northerners are disgruntled liberals,” you come to understand that we mustn’t judge each other for our different beliefs, but for the genuineness of our good intentions.
4. Because it taught you to empathize and connect with the other new girl, too shy and insecure to introduce herself, as her fearful anxiety builds up in anticipation of the lonely lunch hour.
5. Because it taught you to adapt to any new situation, be resilient and less fearful of the one thing that is constant in life. Change.
6. Because it showed you that those who are meant to stay in your life, no matter the distance, are the ones who truly appreciate you, honestly love you, and won’t let go so easily.
7. Because it broke you out of your bubble, subconsciously giving you the need to teach those around you the beauty of difference and acceptance.
8. Because, although it ate away at your self-confidence, you had a fresh start, every time. You were allowed to move onto the next chapter of your own self-discovery, without the labels you felt were imposed on your persona.
9. Because it taught you to always. move. forward.