Saying goodbye is so much harder when you were never prepared to feel sad.
I’m leaving for California tomorrow night. Not for a visit, to live. Forever (maybe). I’ve been doing a lot of lasts this week, and it’s been strangely sad for me. I’ve been pumped about this trip since the first day I decided it was really going to happen. But, that was in August, now that it’s actually happening…I feel sad. Am I still excited? Yes, of course. But I also have this overwhelming sadness inside.
How do I even prepare myself to say goodbye to the place that built me. As much as I joke about wanting to get out, Bolivar has always been (and probably always will be) home to me. My whole life is here. Seventy-five percent of my memories are here. My childhood playgrounds, my high school and the major moments it represents, and the people who love me.
It’s a curse and a blessing to grow up in a smalltown. It’s a curse because you can’t do anything without everyone knowing about. All your mistakes play out in public. It’s a bit like being a celebrity. And because you never really change from who you were in high school, it’s a lifelong brand. The jocks are always the jocks; the prom queens are always the prom queens. In a sense, no one ever really grows up. But, in that sense I feel like I got lucky. I liked who I was in high school. Sure, maybe I had some fashion issues, but other than that, I’m pretty pleased with my past self. And maybe I wasn’t the most “prom queen” in school, but people knew me, and I was friends with everyone. I also feel like I got to grow up with some of the best people. My best friends from high school are still some of my best friends now. I am truly thankful that I grew up in the atmosphere that I did. It has made me who I am. I’m going to miss the safe feeling of home. It’s nice to know people wherever I go. It’s nice to go to a church where they’ve known me since I was little. It’s nice to go to the bank and know everyone. And as much as I complain about it, I’m going to miss seeing all those familiar faces while grocery shopping. I’m going to miss all my families. I have been so blessed to have been given multiple families (you know who you are). I’m just going to miss being well loved. For those who didn’t grow up in a smalltown, you missed out.
The worst part is leaving my family. My whole family is here; my parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephew. They’re all here. And we’re all pretty tight knit. Once again, to those of you who didn’t grow up with a tight knit family, you missed out. Some people only see their families on holidays, or other special occasions; I see mine at least once a week, at Sunday Lunch at my Granny’s house. My Granny passed away this summer, but we’ve kept her spirit of love alive and close to us. We spend every Sunday with each other. It’s a strange feeling knowing that I’m not apart of that anymore. And how do I even begin to express how much I’m going to miss The Children (as I lovingly refer to them)? They are the hardest to say goodbye to. They don’t really get it, why I have to leave and why they’re not going to get to see me anymore. They might not even remember me the next time I see them. The baby, she’s just over a year old, is definitely not going to know me when I come back to visit. And that’s the hardest part. Knowing that I can’t be there for them. Not for choir concerts, not for spelling bees, not for first steps, not for anything anymore. I’m going to be “that aunt in California.” I know how that is, I have aunts and uncles that I never see; and now that’s going to be me. Nothing breaks my heart more. Milestones will happen without me. And as selfish as this makes me, I wish they wouldn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for this new adventure in my life, but I’m having a hard time letting go. I want to be successful and I want to make my parents and family proud of me, but starting over is a scary concept for this smalltown girl.
(Of course there’s a playlist.)
1. Smile – Glee Cast Glee: The Music, Vol. 2
“Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it’s breaking.”
2. Distance – Evan and Jaron Evan & Jaron
“I still believe my feelings, but sometimes I feel too much. I make believe you’re close to me, but it ain’t close enough.”
3. Wherever I Go – Miley Cyrus Hannah Montana Forever
“I’ve always got the memories while I’m finding out who I’m gonna be. We might be apart but I hope you always know, you’ll be with me wherever I go.”
4. Say Goodnight – The Click Five Greetings from Imrie House
“There’s no easy way to say goodbye, so just baby say goodnight.”
5. Never Grow Up – Taylor Swift Speak Now
“Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room. Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home. Remember the footstep, remember the words said.”
6. This Ain’t Goodbye – Train Save Me San Francisco
“As long as we’ve got time, this ain’t goodbye.”
7. You’ll Be in My Heart – Phil Collins Tarzan Soundtrack
“When destiny calls you, you must be strong. I may not be with you, but you’ve got to hold on.”
8. With You in Your Dreams – Hanson Middle of Nowhere
“If I’m gone when you wake up, it’s not goodbye. Don’t look back at this time as a time of heartbreak and distress. Remember me, remember me, ‘cause I’ll be with you in your dreams.”
9. Don’t Forget to Remember Me – Carrie Underwood Some Hearts
“Yeah, I still feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be, but don’t forget to remember me.”
10. The Hardest Part – Coldplay X & Y
“And the hardest part was letting go, not taking part.”
11. I See the Moon – Chris Rice Amusing
“I see the moon, the moon sees me, the moon sees the one that I want to see. God bless the moon, and God bless me. And God bless the one I’m longing to see.”
Listen to the playlist here.