Perhaps the greatest line that has ever resonated with me is, "Not friends, not enemies, just strangers with some memories."
I came across this quote while mindlessly killing time on Pinterest, and suddenly, it felt like the last year of my life was summed up in just nine words. If you're like me, then you lived in the same town your entire life, you've had the same friends, and maybe coming to college was a bigger adjustment than anticipated. Choosing to come to a big school like UGA was my decision, but it was definitely hard coming from a place where I knew everyone in my graduating class by name to having professors who didn't even know my own. To cope, I went home every weekend I could, I stayed in constant contact with my friends from high school, and missed out on a lot of opportunities in college because I was too afraid to move on. A big part of this was choosing to latch on to my ex-boyfriend, who ended our relationship two weeks before the start of freshmen year.
My relationship with my ex is a complicated story on it's own, but probably the greatest lesson I learned last year is that you can't live your life for someone else. Especially, for someone who isn't living their life for you in return. It's hard feeling like you're giving up on people you never imagined your life without, but change is inevitable and you have to evolve.
Take it from someone who held on to her past with all that she had, I'm still nostalgic from the memories. I can vividly remember my drive to school, the restaurant where I had my first date, the street where I had my first kiss, walking to my best friend's house, and experiencing my first heartbreak. It's hard to not miss what once was but I'm more excited for what's to come, and ultimately that feels so much better.
Losing the guy who I thought was the love of my life, friends who I thought would be there for me until the end, and the only life I've ever known, wasn't something that I wanted. Then I think about how much I've gained in life since then, and I realize that's exactly what needed to happen all along. The past can't haunt you if you don't let it. Moving on isn't easy. Because uncertainty can be terrifying, in fact, it's probably one of my biggest fears. After months of feeling like my life was moving forward while I was stuck in place, I decided to take control.
I turned my college into my home and consciously made the decision to make the best out of the time that I have here. Decatur will always be where I grew up, but Athens is where I'm growing now. It's where I'm making friendships I know will last a lifetime, where I'm making some of my best memories but most importantly, it's where I'm finally becoming the woman I've always wanted to be. A woman who knows what she deserves in life because she's finally sure of herself.
Learning to move on doesn't mean you forget where you've come from, it means that you have finally accepted what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. I would be lying if I said I don't miss the people from my past, I do all the time and I wish that things were different, but life will never take anything from you without the intention of replacing it with something much better, so I truly do believe that the best is yet to come. You should believe that too. So when I go home this winter break and if I run into the people from my past... we'll exchange a smile as we remember the memories we shared. But we'll also smile knowing that even though we aren't apart of each others lives now, we played a part in who we've each become.