All of the Things At Once

Over the past few weeks, there have been a few questions that I have been repeatedly posed. They are all some form of:

“Are you excited?”

“Aren’t you scared?”

“Are you sad about leaving home?”

“Is the stress setting in?”

The short answer is:  Yes. All of the above. All at the same time. Sometimes, one more emotion is much stronger than the other. There have been times when butterflies flutter excitedly in my stomach, times when I think of all that I am leaving behind and I start to tear up, or times when fear grips my throat and holds on tight. There are nights when I sleep like a baby, and other nights where I lay awake, staring at the ceiling, my mind swarmed with “What if”s.

Everything I’m feeling, I’m feeling in combination. Everything is a variation of bittersweet. Of whimsical. Happy to move forward, but sad to go.

As I alluded to in my first post, it’s like finishing the last chapter of a book in a series. Not just any book in any series, but your favorite book. The one you’ve found to be better and more enticing than the others. You’re sad to see the pages dwindling down in number, but keenly excited to know what happens in the end. When you reach the last page, there’s a sense of accomplishment but also apprehension. Of course, there will be more books, but will they be as good? Will the characters be as endearing as before? Will the protagonist continue to thrive? With each loose end tied up, each storyline completed, sprouts up another. Or maybe two. Or three. What will the next book hold? Who will be the supporting characters? Will there be any strong antagonists? What will happen to all of the other “characters” (my family and friends), that played such strong supporting roles?

That’s the most daunting part about moving so far away. It’s the most daunting part about being away for months at a time. Things change. Life moves on. People move on, and you’re no longer a part of their story. Though I understand it and take it better than I had when I first moved to Florida for undergrad, the thought is still jarring. It’s odd to think that the people whom I’ve seen nearly every day since returning from Florida I may never see again, except for maybe on social media.

This week has been a week of “lasts”. A week to tie up ends. A week to end chapters. A week to say goodbye. The pages are dwindling, the end of the book is coming up fast. Four days to go. Exciting, but also terrifying. Sad, but also optimistic.

As much as I’m trying to be engaged and present, I can’t help but wonder:  What will the next book be like? And then all of the emotions come back. Everything, all at once.

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