The art of letting go

Hurrah, hurrah! I’ve finished my monstrous 15-page research paper for EPS 310! Time to start doing other work, yay! /end sarcasm

It’s come to my attention that I am now almost a full month away from college graduation. I know what you’re thinking. How do I feel? Am I ready for the real world? Am I ready to let go? These are just examples of the flurry of questions I’ve been getting lately.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the past year, it’s that whether or not you’re ready to let go, you’re gonna have to let go. Last school year I had to learn to let go of a few people, a few comforts. That was normal, since it was the end of my third year of college. Then summer came, and I had to learn to let go of my “home” life. Instead of returning to the suburbs, working at the movie theater, and hanging out with “home” friends, I did something different and stayed in Champaign. I worked a ‘real’ job, hung out with people I never normally would have hung out with during the school year (aside from my roommate), and created an actual real life for myself pretty much.

Then in August I had to let that go. It was probably one of the hardest things I’d ever done. Even though I knew I had this wonderful adventure abroad waiting for me, the interruption to my blissful summer was — literally — heartbreaking. And it had to happen, because prior to summer I had made the decision to study abroad during the first semester of my senior year. As for that decision? Definitely do not regret it at all and I am so so thankful I was able to go. Costa Rica was truly one of the best times of my life. Honestly, in the four months I spent there, I felt more at home than I’d ever felt in the three previous years at Champaign. I had friends and family there. I had a host mother who mothered me in ways I never experienced before. She was the emotional and loving support I was lacking from my own real mother.

And of course, letting go of all that was hard. Unlike my good-byes to summer, these good-byes were extra difficult because I didn’t (and still don’t) know when I’d see Costa Rica again. I didn’t just say farewell to the wonderful people of Central America, but the American friends I’d made as well. At the beginning of my study abroad experience, I couldn’t imagine staying for more than a semester, and thought the first month was hard enough. But by the end, I did not want to leave Costa Rica at all. I never wanted to leave.

But like before, I just had to let go.

I think that entire year of upheaval and changes has definitely affected the way I’ve approached this semester. I’ve been operating with the mindset that nothing is ever permanent. A year from now, I know I won’t be hanging out with the same people anymore. It’s the story of my life. I’ve never had a friendship last for a significant amount of time. I’ve never been in a relationship and it appears that me and the male species just don’t…well, we mesh very well (if you know what I mean…) but obviously it doesn’t seem I qualify as girlfriend-material. I have nothing tying me down. Even the great city of Chicago, the place I once called my hometown, my anchor…doesn’t quite stir the same feelings within me anymore.

Point is, I have no idea where my life is going to lead me in the coming months. I have some vague plans, but at the moment I have no idea where I’ll be living, who I’ll be surrounding myself with (family- and friends-wise), what I’ll be doing to make a living. And you know what? I am perfectly fine with that. It is much easier to let go than to hang on.

I don’t have anything or anyone to live for but myself right now.

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