Reconnect Before the Next Step

A concept I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: reconnecting before the next step in my life. It’s really almost here; I’m six weeks from graduating college.

These next few weeks are a season of lasts; the last weeks of living in a high rise with a view of the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago, with the Rachel to my Monica, and of walking or riding the L to work. The final weeks I’ll be at Columbia, surrounded by a community of writers I so admire who have helped build and challenge my work, and the final weeks I’ll be copy chief at Illinois’ #1 non-daily collegiate newspaper. I’ll miss the chaos of the city and the paper and the best friends I’ve made.

But I’m moving to a different city in my home state, and I’m so excited to explore, immerse myself in it, and join the writing community there. I’ll be living with JT–waking up with my best friend, having regular date nights, making dinner with the guy I love instead of FaceTiming him, all the small things I’m so looking forward to.

And so it’s a lot of sadness muddled with excitement and nerves to process in such a short amount of time, even though it feels like everything is coming together. My solution? Checking back in with what’s important to me right now so I don’t get lost in the time that’s flying by.

In other words, reconnecting with myself; If I don’t carve out time to reflect and process everything I just mentioned, this season may also include a lot of breakdowns. Honestly, it may either way (change is always hard for me), but I think it’s still important to care for myself in the best ways I can. So, I’m going to yoga with a friend on Wednesdays again. I’m making more time to journal and focus on writing. I’m embracing girl’s days with my friends because sometimes you just need a day to binge the “Twilight” movies and check in with each other.

Which brings me to my second priority: reconnecting with friends. Specifically, my female friends who have been evolving the ways I think about the world and myself for the better. They love me and make me feel empowered and remind me how important it is to make sure they feel the same. I’m fortunate to have awesome women in my life every day and to have friends I’ve made in the last year that I also want to spend more time with before I’m a little farther away.

Reconnecting with home; I mean this on several levels. First, home has had three separate meanings for four years, and it’s about to take on a new one. I can’t fully grasp that right now, not before it’s taken shape, but it’s definitely something I’m thinking of and trying to cope ahead about.

Second, being okay with stasis. It’s spring break season right now and all of our social media feeds are full of tropical vacation pics. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed I didn’t go to Southern California or to AWP or just somewhere for an actual vacation. But there is beauty in being stationary, in being grateful for the home you’re comfortable in and lucky to have and people who make it so. Last year, I was so, so fortunate to go to Europe and to California and to Alabama, trips that I needed for different reasons and that taught me to think of home (and a lot of other things) in new perspectives. This spring, I picked up a few extra work shifts and then headed home, out of the city, to spend time with my family, my childhood bff, and JT.

I’ve said it time and again, but sometimes what you need is so understated; walking through HomeGoods with your grandma; eating froyo in the park with the best friend you’ve had since second grade; waking up to see the light perfectly illuminate the periwinkle walls of your childhood room. Sometimes, what you need is rest, and when you can’t get a huge quantity of that, you have to hold tight to the simple things that make you feel better.

That’s the plan for what’s left of Spring 2019 and beyond.

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