Leaving is hard. Have I emphasized that enough? I think I have. When you embrace a new life, you have to let the old one go. And that causes some intense emotion.
The night before I left (or so I thought would be), I took a walk. It was late, 10 or so, and I needed to get out of my apartment. It was stifling. Packing was off-schedule. There was too much to do in too little time, and I had underestimated it all.
Failure? Had I failed? I wasn’t prepared. I yelled at my mom. I’m not proud of that. She had flown up to New York to drive across the country with me. (I had recruited her for the task because two women traveling are safer than one woman traveling? Eh. Anyway.) She knew I was emotional and walked in between me and the door.
“Nothing’s wrong. I just want to go for a walk.”
“I’m anxious and upset, and I want to go for a walk!” I had just been scrubbing my shower for an hour. My arms ached. I realized how much more needed to be done.
“Talk to me. What’s going on?”
“I’m anxious and upset!”
“Why are you yelling? Do you want the whole house to hear this?”
“I’m anxious and upset! And I wouldn’t be if I could go for a walk!”
That did it; she moved. I felt a tad guilty but hugely relieved to walk into the crisp night.
I feared I wouldn’t be leaving the next day. But more importantly, I knew my years on my own in Rochester had ended the moment my mom’s plane touched down. I felt less like an adult, more like a child, and that was amplified by how she showed me how unprepared I really was to leave the next morning.
Had I failed?
Wasn’t that my decision? Hot tears slid down my cheeks. Soft Scrub was stained on my shirt. I was a little sweaty. None of that mattered as the cars drove by, as I passed happy tipsy people on porches.
I was leaving it all—the life I had created and the people I loved there; I didn’t feel okay. Usually, I’d tell myself that ‘not okay’ was okay, appropriate to the situation. I couldn’t. My emotions were overwhelming.
I walked down the side street pictured above. I love how trees in a New York spring will blossom flowers. (They don’t do this in Florida of course.) It was still a gorgeous sight for me, but it looked haunted in the night lit up by the street lamp. I stopped. I stared. I snapped a shot. This picture is how I felt that night. Sad, hopeful, and haunted by fear of failure.
I did leave a day later than planned. And what did that ruin?
And what did leaving change?