Close Your Eyes On Old Ends; Trust In The Magic Of New Beginnings

Close Your Eyes On Old Ends; Trust In The Magic Of New Beginnings

It's time to start something new; from small beginnings come great things.

I love photographs. They're an escape back to a moment that's already gone, a return ticket, in essence. Photographs capture all kinds of moments, full of emotions and actions that are impossible to relive in any other form than the shadow of a memory. I find myself reliving these memories quite a bit, reminiscing back to times where I was tucked safely in my comfort zone, my life in the reach of my fingertips. In those moments of comfort, you forget what else is out there. Life is great when you have a set pattern to each day and a constant identity to hold on to. Living life in that manner is an illusion that stops you from truly experiencing the limits of who you are, from chasing the vast opportunities present in this world. Comfort is good, but sometimes you need change.

That's when you know it's time for a new beginning.

Three months and two weeks ago, I graduated college. I completed the most amazing, arduous journey of my life in those four years, and emerged confident, educated, and strong. I was also entirely terrified. I loved my life in college--the friends, the football, the school spirit around campus and the set routine to each day. I was tired of taking classes, but I didn't want to leave my school, friends and family. I didn't want to leave my safety net.

Three months and two weeks later, I find myself sitting in a bookstore in Asheville, writing this article about the significance of new beginnings. I live in a new city, knowing no one other than the people I work with. I'm scared...and also entirely liberated. No one knows who I am, where I come from, or has any expectations of the kind of person I'm "supposed" to be.

Turning the page onto this new chapter in my life is one of the best feelings in the world, because it allows me to see how much more to the story there really is.

Starting a new life forces you to reevaluate the individual you think you are. You step out of your comfort zone and the things you normally shy away from, because the cost of embarrassment is so much lower at a place where no one knows who you are. New energies and new surroundings present you with new chances for success and happiness. It's scary, but facing the fear shows you how brave you really are. Not knowing anyone forces you to fend for yourself in each situation you face. And with each successful situation you maneuver, you gain confidence in your independence and learn how capable you truly are.

There comes a time in life when you walk away from everything you know in the pursuit of something invigorating and enlightening. Acknowledge your fear of change but face it head on in the hopes of discovering more about yourself. Trust in the magic of new beginnings, regardless of the point you are at in life. It's never too late to be who you want to be and live a life that you are proud of.

Gather the strength to start over and take that first step. With your memories behind you and your dreams in front of you, you can experience the freedom that comes from starting anew.

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Dear Hometown, I'm Sorry I Dread Coming Back To You

It's not you.


Dear Hometown,

When breaks come in college I feel relieved to be back in my home, but then I think of you. I think of everything that happened here and I cringe. I feel almost uncomfortable in my own skin. It's nice to be back, trust me, to see my ride-or-die friends, my amazing family. However, I don't like seeing everything reminding me of my past. I want to move on but it seems as if every time I come back here its two steps back from my one step forward towards a new life. You have a hold on me that makes me feel like I am suffocating. You aren't good for me.

I know that you were everything I didn't want to leave after graduation, but now you are why I want — why I need — to leave.

I will miss the familiarity of everything, being able to come back home from school and get in the car and know exactly how to get everywhere.

I'll come back and visit, tell my kids about you and all the crazy stories, cherish my friends I have made here that I couldn't bear to live without. But I will be moving away as soon as possible, trust me.

I always wonder what it is like to stay in the town you grew up in, to know every part and every road so when you have kids and need to drive them to their friends you know exactly where to go. But that won't be me.

It does hurt, don't get me wrong. When I was little I would always think about what if my kid went to the school I did. But that was younger me. Older me can't wait to take trips back here and show my kids where all my stories happened.

The world is so big and endless, I don't know where I'm going just yet but I have plans.

So, I'm sorry hometown, but you will merely be my past, nothing else.

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