the positives of moving home

The First Step To Moving On In My Life Involved actually Moving

I stood for a moment in the bedroom in which I've slept in for the past two years and realized how static I grew in my living situation and that where I was currently was not where I was meant to be.

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This apartment held my dreams.

I idolized that poorly painted walls and the chips in the finish of the wood furniture. I didn't mind the dusty floors or the stained cabinet near the kitchen sink. It was everything I had always wanted because it was mine to live in.

That was my sophomore year. The year prior was spent crying almost every single night I spent in my room with the feeling of discomfort and anxiety.

For the majority of my freshman year after moving over an unfortunate situation with my first roommate, I had shared a college dorm room was a girl that kept me up at night and made me feel like a pariah during the day. She snored like a bear and maybe showered once a week, despite the sweltering Florida heat.

The room always smelled, was always loud, and always felt like it wasn't my home.

It was probably the worst year of my life for many reasons yet I always made the best of it. I enjoyed what freshman year had to offer, especially the newness of it all. Instead of struggling it out in the room I hated, most nights I slept in my best friend's bed with her at her apartment. She was graceful, knew my misery, and took me in without question, and for that, I will always be grateful for her.

Her apartment turned into the one I lived in permanently the following year when her roommate moved out and I moved in. It felt like my safe haven still from the year prior and I thrived on its energy.

Two years later and that feeling of bliss has subsided. I now walk in and feel a constant reminder of what once was and what could have been. Instead of the youthful memories of figuring out life, I'm left with the painful reminders of failure and disappointment.

I don't blame anyone – it's just life. But instead of staying in the place I've realized is not the best for me despite the re-signed lease for the upcoming year, I'm taking my happiness into my own hands.

I've slowly realized that moving is scary when you're alone. There's no one to help guide you in the right direction or even with the trivial tasks like packing. It's an isolating circumstance that feels like a million burdens all for your to carry.

You learn a lot about yourself through the stress and struggles of breaking a lease and finding a new one to sign.

When I moved to college my freshman year, my parents did most of the work – I just picked out what color bedding I wanted and whether I wanted a gold desk lamp or a black one. I chose gold.

Life seemed easy when it felt like you weren't carrying the weight of all your decisions. Both sadly and joyously, that time has passed and I've both moved on and grown up.

I'm paying for basically everything that comes with this move, and in a lot of ways, I'm proud of myself. I knew I wanted something badly enough and decided to work as hard as I could to get it. I'm still in the middle of the process and the stress that comes with it, but I'm pushing forward with the constant reminders that this is what is best for me.

It's easy to continue in life without reanalyzing where you are and what makes you happy. For too long, I didn't think about my happiness. Rather, I only focused on school work and what my internship would need of me. I took a look in the mirror one day and knew that I needed more for myself and my sanity.

So here I am, taking that first step. Moving is forcing me to continuously analyze my decisions and what I truly want, not just in the moment but also in life. The next step? I'm not sure yet. Likely, it will be to branch out and do more things that make me happy. I want to focus on building new relationships instead of trying to salvage past ones. I want to make more memories in my final year in Orlando and finish discovering what truly makes the city remarkable. It has certainly taught me a lot of lessons and I know there are many more to come.

Cover Image Credit:

Erol Ahmed

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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My Favorite Teacher From Elementary Through High School

This teacher inspired me in way I could've never imagined at such a young.

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I've had some incredible teachers while growing up. Teachers are there to help students learn and grow into a mature and knowledgeable adult. When you're a kid, you don't acknowledge this.\

When I was a little girl, I came to school with the mindset of having fun. Of course, that's not what school is about, but in elementary school teachers try and mix studies and fun together so the kids don't lose interest. In the third grade, I can't recall a single day where I wasn't excited to come to school. A big reason for that is because of my teacher, Mr. Woods.

I remember how nervous I always got as a kid when I moved up a grade and was assigned a new teacher. I had no clue what to expect and if they would like me or not. When I got to know Mr. Woods and his teaching ethic, I grew more and more comfortable in his class. He helped me grow out of any shell I was hiding behind and show my true self. I can't even begin to count the number of times he let me come to the front of the class and read all the random stories I wrote any time I wanted.

His energy and passion for his job show through every lesson he taught us, kids. I don't think I would be writing this right now if it wasn't for his motivation. As a kid, I never fully processed all he did for me. He always managed to make sure my class and I were okay. He cared about us kids, and I could never repay him for all the things he taught me, academically and as a person.

I had the pleasure of going back to my elementary school the day before my graduation for a ceremony. Kids who were graduating this year were allowed to come back and we were honored. We were shown to the elementary kids, hoping to inspire them to further their academics. On the way to the school, I was joking with my mom saying, "I was Mr. Woods' favorite kid, of course, he will love to see me back!" to which then my mom would say, "Oh please I bet he doesn't even remember your name." So when I got to the school I was excited but nervous. When the lady at the mic told the current teachers to stand up, Mr. Woods yelled for me. It was a moment for the teachers to be acknowledged, but instead, he yelled, "Hi Paige!" I visited Mr. Woods every year I could at least once, but I never thought it meant anything. That day, I saw him crying,

I know he was proud of all of us. It's because he is someone who cares about his current and past students well being. He is the epitome of a great teacher.

He cheered for me once again when I was called up individually. When I got to walk the halls one final time, he gave me the biggest hug I've ever received. I got to visit him when everything was finished and give him a gift. He asked about me, let me talk to his students. If I could go back and relive through the third grade I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Never in my life could I ever repay all that he's done for me. He helped me grow into the person I am today and pushed my passion for writing. He is absolutely incredible, and I always wish the best for him. I went through middle school and high school waiting for someone else to become my favorite teacher and while I had many good experiences, no one really compares to the impact Mr. Woods had on me. I'm forever grateful for him. I always will be.

Never take your teachers for granted, the giant majority of them just want what's best for you. Certain people touch people's hearts in different ways. Mr. Woods made an everlasting memorable impression in my life.

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