When you grow up in the same town with the same people your whole life, it's hard not to be excited when high school graduation rolls around. You watch those before you graduate and move off to different places and you are practically counting down the minutes until it is finally your turn. You see the Instagram posts of their new town and new friends, their Snapchats of going out and having fun, and watch as they live their seemingly new perfect lives right before your eyes.
But here's what they don't tell you:
They don't tell you that as you pack up your things and pull out of your driveway for the last time that you feel like you're leaving a piece of yourself behind.
They don't tell you that once your mom unpacks your room and meets all your roommates (and everyone else for that matter), that you will start to cry as she gets ready to leave you and go back home. And, if you're anything like me, will cry for the next three hours and call her no less than ten times. I may or may not have also told her to come back and get me.
They don't tell you that the first few days and weeks are some of the loneliest times in your life. Because even though you're meeting hundreds of new people, all you want is the comfort of those who already know you.
They don't tell you that being homesick comes in waves. You will finally settle in and become comfortable. Then you see all your friends from home together without you and become heartbroken because though they may miss you, they are, indeed, fine without you.
But they don't tell you all these things for a reason, and now that I have moved away, too, I completely understand why. They don't tell you because they don't want you to miss out on potentially one of the best experiences of your life.
Because before moving away, no one told me how these random people I was assigned to live with would become my family in such a short period of time. When you all have no one else to lean on you learn to lean on each other. You become best friends in a matter of a few days and start to wonder how you ever lived your life without them right there by your side.
No one told me about the feeling that I'd get when I went home to visit. I expected to feel relieved, but all I could think about was how much I missed being back at school. Because once you move away for college you slowly begin to realize that home isn't a place anymore, home is a feeling. And how lucky am I to have two places that I can call home?
More importantly, no one told me about all of the growing I'd do as a person. When you are forced to make new friendships and indulge in new experiences, you become a better version of yourself that you never even knew existed.
So yeah, it's hard. Actually, it's undoubtedly the hardest thing I've ever done. There were nights when I cried myself to sleep because I missed my family and yearned for the comfort of that which was normal to me. But then one day I read a quote from Vincent Van Gogh that said, "Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable, but no flowers grow there".
And let me tell you, I am blooming. And so will you.