The End of a Chapter

It’s 5:42 am, central time, and I cannot sleep. In less than five hours I will be on the road heading to my new home in Seattle. Ever since the summer of 2014, when I took my first road trip out west and saw the magnificent Emerald City, I have wanted to live there. Manifesting my dream for the past two years, I snatched the opportunity and today, I am making this dream a reality.

As the excitement of a new city is on the horizon, I cannot help but feel bittersweet about this moment. There is an underlying sadness of the ending to a chapter of my life. I have grown up and lived in the same town all my life (St. Charles, Illinois), and my roots are deep in the midwest. There are so many memories engrained here, and as I laid in bed last night, I could not help but reflect on them…

My Home

West of the city of St. Charles, on the outskirts of town, is a subdivision that is home to a plethora of ranch-style homes. In this subdivision, nestled on 1 1/2 acres, there is a split-level ranch with a long driveway and a mushroom painted mailbox as a marker for all the new comers who have trouble finding the address. I have lived in this house all my life.  That is my home. I know its bones, its history. I can tell you that on a summer eve, if you are swimming in the pool, you can see the fruit bats that come out to eat the bugs, and you better dive under water for shelter. I can tell you about the chorus frogs that sing in the late spring in the marsh behind our property. Or about the one room in the house, my bedroom, that is the coldest room in the winter and the hottest room in the summer. Or the apple trees in our backyard. I can go on and on, because to me, this place will always be my home.

My Friends & Family

I am someone who when it comes to friendships, chooses quality over quantity. I have always had a small group of fiends, and while these groups may have changed thought the years, there have always been one or two people who have remained close to, and I can call them lifelong friends. My first and longest friendship started when I was six, and my new neighbors moved in. They had a young daughter my age, and our first playdate turned into a 18+ year friendship. Our childhood was spend in our backyards playing make-believe, and our tween years were spent in our basements playing N64 and Playstation. I went to her wedding last May, and our friendship is irreplaceable. Then in high school, freshman year I was on the dive team. At my school, though we shared a pool with the swimmers, swimming and diving are two different worlds. However, there was a senior swimmer that took interest in me, and I became her “surrogate daughter”. Even after she graduated, we remained friends, and even bought me my first drink when I turned 21. When I started college, I remember not knowing anyone at the school, and for the first couple days, I was a ball of nerves and tears, but as fate would have it, I sat at a table with three other folks who I developed a connection with. They were my “dysfunctional family” and we would joke about our relationship. I of course was the grandma, as my responsible nature gave me that title. I kept in contact with one of the group-members, and we still call each other “grandson” and “grandma”. Lastly, there is my family at the Crystal Shop where I worked these past two years. I had only been working there for three months when we hired on a new staff member who was still in high school. When I first met him, I thought, “Oh, dear god.” as I didn’t quite appreciate his sense of humor at the time. But we slowly grew into a great duo, and even created our own podcast and music videos, which I am pretty sure are still up on Youtube. All of these people I have kept near and dear to my heart, and I cannot help but feel sadness in knowing that I won’t have those face-to-face moments as often as I had.

Like I said, it’s exciting starting a new chapter, but with starting something new means that something present will have to come to an end. All of the memories and moments I have from these past 24 years I will cherish. As I drive out today, I feel like I am leaving a part of me behind. I sort of wish I was. That I could be in two places at once. I guess that is a part of growing up. To make these tough choices, knowing that you need to leave something behind in order to move forward. I will miss you Illinois. Even though your corn fields are the worst to drive past, your temperatures fluctuate more than a PMSing woman, and you have a horrible bug problem, I will miss you.

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