When something ends, we cannot help but stand staring, in awe. We wonder how time passed so quickly, how a phase of our lives can so simply be “over” in what truly is the blink of an eye, because that’s all an ending is: It’s an instantaneous micromoment, where our state of being changes from “is” to “was.” The present bleeds into the past, and we find ourselves a completely new version of ourselves, unaware as to how a previous set of experiences and moments have built us to where we are at that present moment.
And that’s how I feel now.
I had planned to stay here. In fact, I had completely come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be “advancing,” per se, and that I’d be content with maintaining my current job, that I’d be ready to hone my skills as a 4th and 5th grade teacher, as opposed to expanding my skill-base with a new job. But then I got the call. I got the offer I couldn’t refuse, and in the city I’ve only ever dreamed of living.
I froze when talking to Max, my new “boss,” unsure of how to respond or how quickly to accept or decline. Suddenly, the decision was real. I was actually going to have to choose whether or not to leave behind everything I know and love, and run towards new possibility, new opportunities for success, and the scariest part, new opportunities for failure.
“You gotta find your life,” my friend said to me later that evening. A simple five words, but so painfully true. Life does not find us; instead, we find it. Everything doesn’t happen for a reason. We make things happen, and then later, we invest reasons into those moments and identify the ways in which they’ve contributed to the current versions of ourselves.
So much happened this year, between the gay marriage controversy and some turbulent romantic relationships, and I now feel that I can invest a great deal of meaning into those moments of disappointment and desperation. They tested my values and morals, they made me reevaluate and rethink my purpose and outlook on life, they helped me learn to love myself, and now, they’ve given me the confidence and resilience to truly go out and “find my life.”
I’m excited to see what awaits in San Francisco. I cannot wait to feel invigorated, to feel lost in a big, new place, to fall in love with a new environment and new people, and to develop into a new version of myself through new relationships, the successes I’ll experience, and the impending failures in which I will, without a doubt, be able to invest meaning later on.
Change is hard, but in order to learn and to grow, embracing change is necessary. I can’t have everything I want in one place; instead, I will need to trust that the love I have grown here in Chicago will be felt halfway across the country and that it will always be waiting for me here when I come back.