Yesterday I finally created a Twitter — and yes, you can and should join my tiny army of three followers — @_aplotnikova. When it came time to fill out my city of residence, I was not prepared to embrace a whirlwind of nostalgia. Maybe it had to do with the fact that it was, once again, 2 a.m. and I was still awake, or maybe the mandatory college-student-becomes-self-aware syndrome finally set in — either way I found myself questioning where I was going and where I had come from. Now please brace yourselves for the disclaimer because I have to admit, this piece, like my train of thought that night, doesn't have a set destination. It follows my stream of consciousness, a structure a la Virginia Woolf — that perfectly depicts the dysfunctionality of the topic at hand.
As I filled in the "city" blank with "Miami," my current situation became even more surreal: here I was, 1,400 miles away from the place I've come to know as home, trying to re-establish what was and building on what is. The feeling isn't new for anyone who's had to move cities multiple times in their life — and it certainly isn't for me, but I'm finding it particularly hard to let go of what was. I think it's always hard to admit that things aren't going exactly as you envisioned them, and it's even more disheartening to find out that you should've been more careful what you wished for, which I thought was the case for me. At the same time — I can't exactly judge whether my decision was a flop or not based off of two months. Honestly, so far, my reasons for discontent don't run deep. Plainly put, I miss my routine. I miss playing music in band and getting up at 6 a.m. to give speeches on Saturdays. I miss walking home in the fall and driving through the snow in the winter. I miss the strangest little nuances that characterize my closest friends and I miss the odd back hallways of my high school. I miss what I got used to — which is proving to be the hardest obstacle for me to overcome. I've come to realize that there are some things that I can't and won't ever get back. While all of my friends left for college for four months at a time and will once again return to their homes and attend their homecoming games and see their childhood friends, I won't be returning.
The decision to move was all our own and I know homesickness is a normal part of the adjustment period, but I just couldn't shake the feeling of loneliness and uncertainty that comes with moving. The idea of growing up and changing has always been the centerfold of any adolescent struggle — but I never realized how easily literal changes can translate into slight mental differences that over time amount to who we are. I guess what I'm getting at is the infamous idea of fleeting time — that little factor that explains what happens when we're not looking. I thought it was only yesterday that I graduated high school, and now I can't even watch "High School Musical 3" movie without tearing up. It's strange too because I never considered myself fond of routine. I get bored very easily and I love the thrill of the unknown, but I'm genuinely having trouble moving on. At times I feel almost as if I'm losing pieces of myself the further I stray from what I know.
They say growth happens just beyond your comfort zone — a phrase I try to live by — but what happens when you're not as courageous as you thought? While we can't turn back the clock on most major decisions, we shouldn't be quick to change our trajectory. Last week, Rachel, one of my brilliant new friends tastefully wrote in, no surprise, her own Odyssey article "On Growing Up," that time keeps moving forward and has the power to quell our anxieties and decide some of our major decisions. I guess sometimes, we just have to wait it out. Instead of throwing a pity party, we have to keep moving forward and recognize that everything should work out in time. This disconnect between our past and future selves does not mean one of us has to "die," instead it means that we are at a crossroads, ready for the tradeoff. And although it is utterly terrifying to come face to face with the truth and find ourselves swinging on time's ticking minute-hand, we couldn't live our lives any other way.
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best: "Life is a journey, not a destination." Tolkien's modern equivalent "Not all those who wander are lost" that I've seen plastered on the backs of Subarus and sprawled on the fronts of notebooks sends the same message — the life we lead, if we lead it with good intent, will seldom turn out to be worse than we expect it to be. Although sometimes it feels like it and I'm staring at my Twitter profile wondering who I've become and how I can reconcile both aspects of me, I know somewhere in between the lines, I can find tranquility in change. Who can say where the road leads? Only time. Did I mention I love Enya?