This week has been an emotional one. I have ricocheted between fear, excitement, sadness, and calm…all in a single day. Just to fall asleep and start it all over again in the morning.
I have lived in Seattle for 15 months, which is the longest I have lived anywhere since high school. And while, by looking at my face, you might think that couldn’t have been too long ago, I’ve been living this nomadic lifestyle for nearly 9 years now.
As much as I am ready for a change and am excited for my new life abroad, I have loved living in Seattle, and leaving here isn’t going to be easy. I live with my best friend Kate, and have gotten accustomed to the luxury of living with someone I love and being adopted into her wonderful family.
Having moved so many times, I have often thought that no place really felt like home. My parents move almost as much as I do, so there’s not a certain place I go back to visit that has an especially homey feel. And after 16 moves I didn’t expect Seattle to be any different.
But what I found here was Kate’s family: a group of the most kind and wonderful people, who welcomed me into their family without hesitation. And they are what makes leaving Seattle so hard. In 15 months they didn’t just make Seattle fun; they made it feel like home. And leaving them is heartbreaking. But despite that, I have long felt that my life’s calling is not here. I don’t know exactly what it is…but I think I need to explore the globe a little more before I find out.
And so I am leaving. Tomorrow. But not without a plethora of mixed emotions. I am excited. I am scared. I am sad. But I’m ready. And in the words of the sadly recently departed David Bowie:
I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I can promise it won’t be boring.
Except that, I mean, I’m going to Thailand. But long term, no idea.
Years ago, when I left Philly, I said many tearful goodbyes to my friends there. I didn’t know if or when I would be coming back, and with each indefinite goodbye my heart ripped open a little more. My friend Peter told me then, “enjoy the heart rippers. They’re what makes life worth living.” How true that was. How lucky I have been, in a world of 7 billion unique people, to find friendships so full of love that leaving them feels like my heart is being torn apart.
I was at Kate’s sister’s house yesterday and I saw this hanging on their fridge:
I love Wendell Berry, and that quote speaks so aptly to what I have been a part of during my time in Seattle. A community that is not dependent on a specific location, but on a group of people and the care they show one another. And I think that’s beautiful.
So I’m leaving. And it’s sad. But a great big world awaits me, and all the distance in the world isn’t going to take this community away from me.