There comes a time in every young adult’s life when they have to move out of their parents’ house — not the mini-move out between high school and college, but the real ‘you’ve got a job and you’re off to the big, shiny new city!’ move out. For the remainder of this month, I am experiencing and will be experiencing this transition.
I have had the unique experience of living in the same home, same room, since birth. For over two decades, this Place Where I Grew Up was literally where I grew up. I watched the treefort my brother and I built at age 10 and 4, respectively, crumble and decay over the years. I saw the landscape change, and the meadow behind our house flood with every autumn rain and be dotted with dandelions in the summer. In my closet, I scribbled the names (in permanent ink, oops) of every crush in junior high. On my carpet are spots of fuschia nail polish, spilled at countless slumber parties. I dressed for my first date in this room and subsequently dealt with a high school breakup here. I twirled around in prom dresses and kept corsages from all my dates on the windowsill. I imagined futures for myself, of what college would be like, of what I wanted to become. I wondered, like most preteen females, about the man I would marry and wrote in a diary that I hoped he “has blonde hair and surfs” (Thank you, Laguna Beach). I grew up in this room. More than just watching the years pass, I learned who I am here.
And now, here I am, a year out of college — bouncing between unpaid internships, and in the throes of apartment hunting. The quintessential blend of excitement and anxiety for 20-somethings. In less than a month, I will have theoretically condensed my existence into boxes and set it all up in a southern city. It’s one of the biggest transitional phases life has to offer. It’s exhilarating, unnerving, and largely overwhelming. But it’s good; it’s progress and moving forward.
Change is part of humanity, after all. All of us go through changes, and we all kind of suck at it. As I’m preparing for the next stage of my life in a new city, I feel pretty much like a baby giraffe stumbling through this. I look at my past, translated before me in discarded toys, naive yearbooks, and outdated clothing. And I wonder how I can do this. How can I leave what is so familiar to start anew? The poignancy in leaving a house that I’ve called home for 22 years is not lost in this moment. Even while away in college, I still knew I had this place to come back to. That regardless of how I changed throughout the years, this house remained. And now it’s time to leave it; to update vocabulary from it being ‘my home’ to ‘where my parents live’.
I think these are the moments that define us. When we strike out on a new adventure, when we arise to a new challenge that necessitates we leave our comfort zone. We can never truly grow if we don’t create space for all that growth. We can’t reach out for something new if we’re still holding onto a childish security. It will be a bittersweet morning when I drive away from this house. But I trust the road beneath the wheels and where it leads.