Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Real Reason I'm So Afraid to Leave

May is graduation season. People worldwide are graduating from Kindergarten, from high school, from college. No matter what level of schooling a person is leaving behind, it's always a highly emotional time. There's nerves, there's sadness, there's excitement, there's elation. During this season of graduation, someone had posted an article titled "The Real Reason You're So Afraid to Graduate"  which really resonated with me in the current season of MY life. Not only in terms of leaving Ashland two years ago, but also in terms of leaving Honduras in a couple of weeks.

I've been obsessing over how hard it is to say good-bye to everyone in Honduras. But it's also hard to say good-bye to this stage of my life. Honduras will always exist, my friends will always be part of my life, I will have my memories forever. But no matter how soon or how often I return to Honduras, it will never be the same as when I leave. I will never be able to recreate the life that I've been living these past two years.

That's a hard pill to swallow. That's a harsh reality to accept.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Graduates, especially college graduates, everywhere are feeling the same way.

As the article says: "What you weren’t prepared for was this unshakable feeling that you don’t belong anywhere. At some point in the past four years, while you were busy giggling from exhaustion as you and your best friends ordered pizza to the library at 2am, this place became your home. Not just because you live here, but because every corner of campus has a different memory attached to it. Because you don’t have to look at the menus of your favorite breakfast spots to know you’re going to get the waffles, because oh my God, the waffles. Because you know which cafeteria lady won’t charge you for guacamole. But mostly because the people here –the faces you see every day– make you feel absolutely at peace. And you’re just now realizing that when you cross that graduation stage, you’re not just leaving your home. It ceases to exist. The people you know are leaving. Your friends. Your roommates. The acquaintances you are stoked to see at the bar. The exes you’re constantly looking over your shoulder in fear of. The familiar faces of random people on the way to class. Everyone who made this place home. They won’t be here anymore. The storefronts will change. New restaurants will open. New buildings will go up. And a fresh new batch of students will arrive. Your home is constantly changing. You can never go back to it, just as it was. Your friends will move to different places. Some will move back home. Some will move to new and exciting cities. Some will be just an hour away. Some will be a flight away. Some will be close enough for regular happy hours and nights out. But you know for certain that it will never be the same. You’ll never all live in the same place again. For the rest of your life, you’ll have to travel further than across the hall to see the people you call family. You’ll have get togethers, and brunches, and weekend getaways, but you can never go back “home.” And that leaves you feeling…kind of homeless. You know it will get better. You know you’ll eventually be happy in your new life. You’ll have close friendships and relationships. You’ll get that dream job. And you’ll fall in love. And even though it seems impossible, you know you’ll find a new home some day. But that doesn’t make it better. That almost makes it worse. It scares you. It scares you, because you’ll miss your life so much it hurts. But mostly, it scares you that someday you might not miss it any more at all. There's nothing anyone can say to make that feeling go away. And it’s okay to be sad. It feels truly unfair –cruel, even– that you were given the most amazing experience of your life, just to have it taken all away. I know it’s hard. I know it hurts, but remember this: you are one of the lucky ones. You were lucky enough to have something in your life that was wonderful enough to make it this difficult to leave it behind."

Those last couple paragraphs hit the closet to home for me. Because the idea of not being this in love with Honduras one day terrifies me. The idea of loving something more than I love Honduras right now is devastating to me.

And throughout all of my crying, I've said "Why would God let me come here and meet such wonderful people and make such wonderful friends, if I just have to say good-bye to them!?" at least fifty times.

But when it comes down to it, I am one of the lucky ones. I was blessed with this opportunity, these kids, these friends, this adventurous life in a beautiful country. And it's so hard to say good-bye to the life that I've been living, but thank goodness I have something so amazing to say good-bye to.

I truly am one of the lucky ones.

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