Two weeks from Friday, we will be shutting the door to the Uhaul, locking up our apartment for the last time, and hitting the road for our new home in Chicago. Two weeks. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. The day Matt and I could get out of this little town, the day I could say goodbye to the naysayers and the doubters, and the day we get to start a new and exciting adventure. But now that this day is a month away, I’m starting to have second thoughts. Not second thoughts about our move or how much we’ll love Chicago, but second thoughts about how much I’m going to miss this place, how much I’m going to miss the people I’ve grown to love, and how much I’m going to miss the life we’ve built here. I came to this town thinking, its just four years, it’s just for this degree, I can do it, no problem. It’s been four years, and though there have certainly been some rough patches, there have also been some incredible times. Some really incredible times.
I’ve met people who have significantly impacted my life. People who have challenged me, supported me, loved me, and liked me. People who have helped me figure out who I am and who I want to be. These people have been friends, colleagues, students, and supervisors. These people have made this place a home, and now with two weeks until we leave, the thought of saying goodbye to these people is overwhelming. I’m finding myself cramming in as many dinner dates, Starbucks trips, and long chats with people as I can. I’m finding myself glued to my camera, desperately trying to capture every minute that goes by. Last week, I found myself wondering if I could hire a papparazzo to follow me and my loved ones around, capturing the little, hidden moments that are the most special. The subtle signs of affection, the laughs, the hugs, the jokes from my students…the things that a “Ready, one, two, three (click of my Nikon) can’t seem to catch. I’m not ready to give those moments up, I’m not ready to say goodbye to those moments and the people who make them so special.
Goodbyes are hard, and I certainly don’t think I do them well. I typically put them off, fumble to find the right words, and then break down in tears as I hug the person goodbye. I often hear others say, “See you soon,” which in many cases, is an avoidance of the fact that, honestly, you probably won’t see each other soon. Sure, when I hug my family and my bestest friends goodbye, I can say that, because, I will see them soon (or at least again.) But many of my students and student mentors, I very well likely may not see again. They will grow up, graduate, and do great things with their lives. Of course, I’ve said goodbye before, but something about staying put and watching others trickle in and out is easier than being the one to leave. Being the one to uproot yourself and leave a place with people you know and love.
So today, though I am excited for Chicago and know it will be an adventure for Matt and I, I can’t help but think about how hard it is to say goodbye to places and people that I love, places and people who have brought constant joy and inspiration into my life. I have a feeling these next two weeks are going to be filled with lots of goodbyes, lots of hugs, and for me, lots of tears. I have a feeling two weeks from Friday is going to be a hard, hard day…