Leaving the familiar is something we’ve all struggled with at least once in our lives. The floor that your feet have walked has ended, the familiar cracks and bumps are all too worn out. Your usual routine sticks with you, you roll out of bed the same way and turn your light on blindly. Your hands automatically reach for your toothbrush in the far right corner of the sink and barely notice the third light bulb that has been out above the bathroom mirror. You have greatness seeping into your bones that you have not discovered yet. There is so much that is unknown, so much that is uncertain and terrifying, but there is also freedom. Freedom that you have not yet experienced. Freedom to learn who you really are.
When did it all stop making sense? Everything was laid out for you, someone was always there to reach a cup at the top of the cupboard. Oh, how you wish you could go back to bedtime stories and late night video games. You close your eyes and swear you can hear your hiccuped laughter, the one you made when your favorite Junie B. Jones line was read or you’d get tickled until you couldn’t breathe. Are your eyes as bright as they once were? You rack your mind for a reason why they’re dull until you realize it.
The reason is that you have grown up, seen the bitterness of the world and the reality of bills and taxes. One hundred dollars seem minuscule to the amount life costs. You remember seeing a crisp one hundred dollar bill when you were a kid and thinking you could buy whatever you want. You would buy all the candy you wanted or that new Nintendo DS game you had your eye on. It’s like balancing on a tightrope seeing the bitter reality of the world and then seeing the beautiful innocence of children, the hopeful smiles of your little siblings. At this vantage point, you can see freedom like the sun setting. It’s there, it’s so close, but seems so far. You want to hug and hold your family, feel their heartbeats next to yours and etch it into your memory for when you’re alone in your dorm room. You’re plagued with worry, worried about your future and what you’re going to leave behind. You won’t come home to your messy room or have to sneak in past your curfew anymore. It’s an odd sensation, this freedom. But then you come back and realize you were wrong all along. This is a part of the plan, the next step in your journey. The next chapter is unfolding.
The new familiar is your dining hall and your cozy twin size bed. You know how to balance that tightrope now. You see your future as a beautiful sunset, no longer menacing or so far away like you thought. You hug your high school best friend and laugh because nothing has changed, you cruise through the well known streets of your neighborhood with the windows down and that Usher song that never gets old plays. Walking through the front door of your house, smelling that home cooked meal, and you smile because you are back home.