I assumed that the crippling anxiety of moving to Spain would hit me at some point along the way. With nervous laughter, I shooed away visions of my 50 year old self living with my parents eating Hot Pockets, watching YouTube videos all day, and responding to classified ads (Yes! I was the brunette at the bowling alley that blew her nose and winked at you! Are we soulmates?!?). As I took one final moment in my empty apartment before closing the door, I felt no sadness, no nostalgia. I started to believe that leaving really wouldn't be that hard. I felt invincible. Then the time came for me to say goodbye to my family.
If I'd had to do it all at once, this would be a very different blog post; it's probably hard to type while wearing a straight-jacket. [I literally just tried to type using only my elbows... You just tried too, didn't you?] Fortunately, the goodbyes came in waves: first my friends and work family, then my dad and stepmom, next my grandma and poppy, my siblings, and then my mom and stepdad. Each parting felt like taking scissors to a guitar string, my comfort zone recoiling with every snip. As Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne) said, "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
Venturing to a place that is far away from my family is absolutely terrifying, but it's wholly necessary. One can either accept the fear and let it take control, or accept the fear and be brave anyway. Without a challenge, there is no growth. Without adversity, there is no strength. I'm a walking, talking motivational poster. It also sounds like I'll never see my family again. Hello, drama queens, thank you for allowing me to join you today. Happy to be here.
My home has never really been a place; it's my people. There are new homes to discover. But when I come back to my Arkansas home, I'm going to squeeze their little faces and follow them everywhere. Even to the bathroom.