I’m leaving my home state in 21 days. It’s been hitting me slowly with different things over the last few months. I love my family dearly but having them has kept me from growing up. Mostly, because I lean on them so much for support and also because I know they won’t go anywhere. It has translated to me still living at home, going to college nearby, limiting my relationships with potential friends, and meant that I never really 100% committed to living independently. I don’t mean financial independence. That has long since been my way of life. I mean, I’ve never lived without the comfort of knowing my family is close by if I’m in trouble or sad or just plain lonely.
And with all these “lasts” piling up in front of me, I’m realizing how finite the time left is. There really are no more “maybe next week” or “maybe next month” statements. There’s a lot of “maybe down the line”. Which is weirdly heartbreaking. Mostly, my family is getting older. My dad is in his late 60s, my aunt is in her 70s, the list goes on. I may only be 26 but I’m surrounded by seniors. Seniors who have a finite amount of time left. Just like me right now as the days count down until I get in my car and drive towards my future.
I have been so focused on all the negative things about being home: cramped quarters, stressful commitments, being pulled in a million directions by a million needy people. I think it has helped me handle the sadness, even if I wasn’t aware of it until now. I have made it a point to be content and grateful for the beautiful things in my life too. But I am also hit with this overwhelming sense of despair at how lucky I am to have so many absolutely irreplaceable people in my life. They are wonderfully strange and complex and I love them with my entire existence.
Today, I am sad I will be going. For the first time since I made my decision to pursue my graduate program outside of California, I have a rock deep in my gut. Maybe I’ve secretly held onto my childhood, unwilling to let it go. I keep asking people around me, were you sad when you left home? Some say yes, but mostly, they say no. I don’t have this terrible life to escape from, even if I’m still running away. I pray I don’t wake up one day and years have gone by and I’m surrounded by gravestones whose times I’ve missed all because I made a selfish decision in my twenties. Leaving home is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.