We packed my things into two cars, made the three and a half hour trip to the next state down, unpacked my things, and then they left. I felt suddenly alone; in the short amount of time between arriving to our destination and them leaving, I grew comfortable with other bodies in the room. People to talk to. People to listen. People to laugh with.
I think what I miss most about moving away from everything and everyone I’ve ever known is the feeling of being accepted and wanted, the feeling of being comfortable, knowing that I built relationships with people who mean something to me.
Change stings at first, no matter if you welcome it or you run from it. (Although welcoming it might sting a bit less.)
I know the sting will subside, and that I will meet other people. But right now, I can’t feel that. I will get there, but not right now, not today or this week or next.
At the end of the day, I have to remember why I chose to do this in the first place: to get a new start, to grow, to make new connections and create new memories, to meet people who are extraordinary, to meet people who need my help, to try and fail and adjust. I’m doing this for my family and for myself. I’m doing this because I’ve outgrown everything that I’ve known; because feeling challenged is something that I value out of life.
I’m doing this for the students 15 years down the road who will come to me for advice, for help, for someone to listen. This is me practicing for those students. This is me learning for a future Robbie.
Yes, I will change. Those same people who I didn’t want to leave a week ago will see next and see the changes that I’ve made. I’ll be a slightly different person. And then the next time, even slightly more different, and so on. The pattern will continue until there comes a point where there is a completely different Robbie standing in front of them and they wonder to themselves, “my, how he has changed.” And that’s okay, you know? It’s okay to change for the sake of growing. It’s okay to want to do more, to be more, to be challenged by something new. Otherwise what’s the point of living this life?
Just because people can’t see the reason why you change doesn’t mean it’s wrong of you to want to change.
My biggest piece of advice for students is this: make it a goal of yours that by the time you’re done doing what you’re doing— academically, extracurricularly, professionally, etc.— be able to say to yourself, “I did everything that I wanted to do in my time there.” Don’t let yourself down in that arena. Do it all. Go to that football game that you want to go to, sing at the top of your lungs in public, run for student government, get involved, be someone you would have looked up to 5 years ago, and have the courage to jump out of that comfortable plane head-first, with a smile on your face, an open mind, and a wanting heart.
Sometimes you can find the perfect person at a not perfect time, and sometimes you can be so ready to take a leap of faith, but that person doesn’t feel perfect.
And then there are those times when you are at a concert and it’s the last band playing and you’re next to someone that you haven’t seen in a while and you’ve always had the biggest crush on them and you’ve always found them to be a beautiful human being and you’re both listening to the same music and have the same feelings about the music and you’re just there taking it all in, you’re in that moment together and neither of you have to say a word, it’s all explained in the air, the atmosphere, in the way your arms touch, and then you look over at her and she’s smiling so big and all you want to do is just save that very moment as a snapshot in your mind so that you never forget it.
And then the next day, it’s all that you think about. You long for that moment back, wishing, hoping that it happens again so that the second time around, you will make that moment better. So that the next time your strings are aligned with someone else’s and they’re right next to you and there’s music in the background, you’ll kiss her.
Because why not? Because what do you have to lose?
Because isn’t life supposed to be lived on the edge of that limb where courage sits?