Winter break has been a busy time, filled with the annual traditions that we so look forward to and the routines that we cling to. But it’s also been a time of great anxiety as the clock ticks down to the big moment, the end of break and the start of a new life. From the moment I locked the door to my classroom and said adieu to North Stafford for the last time, it’s been a roller-coaster ride of acceptance and denials that a major milestone is approaching to upset 10 years of relative comfort and complacency.
The big day is tomorrow. Everything is in order–as best as it can be. Flights are booked, Clipper Card charged for my arrival, arrangements made for where to stay and where to have my boxes sent. I sold my car on Monday, which was a surprising relief (they offered me enough to cover the debt and then some, thankfully), and canceled my insurance. In short, I have done all the preparing I can.
I spent some time with friends and family also, which was valuable. There were dinners out, movies in, and many things in between. Yet they struggled the same as I did with finding the right way to bring closure when it doesn’t feel like anything has changed yet.
Finally, as I did the last of my packing late this evening, it sank in. It’s my last night in the room I have slept in (on and off) for the better part of a decade. I went through a few old memories–songs and photographs–wondering if they would cease to carry meaning and be inaccessible in this new, faraway place.
Realistically, I tell myself, nothing is coming to an end, that I can go back if I want or need to, but would that only mean going through all this again? And besides, by time I am ready to return to the East Coast, something will have changed; there is no going back.
That’s life, I guess. People face hurt, sadness, discomfort and anxiety every day in the pursuit of their dreams and destinies. Some may never know what it means to be home. I, too, must learn to understand and appreciate that, but I can’t do it by sitting on a couch all day and never venturing far enough from home in the first place.
Tomorrow, my flight leaves Dulles around noon ET and arrives at SFO around 3 p.m. PT. I will then venture my second journey on the BART to try to track down the keys to my sublet apartment, I will have a day to acclimate and unpack, while catching up on a bit of UCSF work, then looking at another (potentially longer term) apartment on Monday morning. Both of the apartment situations seem like decent options for a six-month sublet. Yes, it will be an adjustment without the furniture I am accustomed to having, much less the space and the quality of living.
When I think of what I will miss (such as the cats above), though, I will try to think “What if I didn’t go after this opportunity? What if I were still sitting on that couch right now? What would I be getting ready to do?” The answer would probably be wishing I were somewhere else and looking for more fulfilling job opportunities. Well, here they are.