I’m sitting in the Boston airport, awaiting my flight to Lisbon, Portugal, and I’m so relieved to be on the brink of experiencing the benefits of my decision to make such a big life change.
Don’t get me wrong, the past week has been incredible. I’ve been able to spend quality time with nearly every person who is important to me. But to say that it has been emotionally draining would be an incredible understatement. Normally I don’t allow myself to indulge in my feelings. It can be overwhelming and a little too real. But when saying goodbye to family, friends, and homes I made the conscious decision to let myself just “sit in” those feelings. As you might expect there were some tears. I’m a firm believer in a good cry – it’s therapeutic. Science says so. But I really took it to the next level. You know when you cry so hard you give yourself a headache? I did that… like eight different times.
I sob cried in public places, touched everything in my apartment, blew a kiss to the Indy skyline as I drove away – that’s the level of emotionally crazy we’re dealing with. But here was the moment it really sunk in: I was having a “Last Supper” style brunch with my friends on Sunday, right before packing up my apartment and driving up to my parents’ home. When delving out the checks at the end of the meal, the waiter was pairing people up. “You’re together. And you’re together,” mindlessly dealing out the slick, flimsy papers like an expert. When he finally came around to me, he paused, looked down at the last check in his hands and asked, “And you’re on your own?” I gave a small, inaudible gasp, and my friend Maggie, also noticing the significant undertones of such a simple, innocent question, put her hand on my knee. I took a breath. “Yes. I’m on my own.” Moments later I hugged my best friends goodbye and I really was on my own.
But it was good. If nothing else – and I’m sure it will be much more – this trip has given me the forum to reflect on my life. Sure, saying goodbye was difficult, but for me it was more about closing a very big chapter. I find that you often need a momentous “reason” to notice and appreciate your life and, more importantly, tell people how you feel about them. Those occasions are usually graduations, weddings, births. I haven’t personally experienced the latter two and, consequently, I think I was starved for a “reason” of my own. And boy did I get it.
I am beyond grateful for the last week of farewells, which included a blow out weekend with my closest friends (and my brother and SIL made an unexpected appearance all the way from Charleston, SC!), a few very relaxing days with my parents (shout out to Fred & Kath), and topped off with an evening spent with my BFF, Laura, in Chicago, who graciously drove me to the airport this morning and waited while I got checked in because she knows I have trouble adulting on my own. Although I feel emotionally drained, ironically, my heart has never felt so full. My cup runneth over.
Now where’s the “off” button for all these emotions?
P.S. if you’re wondering what Hammerschlagen is it’s one of the best drinking games ever and you should educate yourself here.