Friday, March 21, 2008

Things You Leave Behind

It's funny how things can change so fast. One day you're meandering through your twenties, minding your own business, and the next thing you know you're a few months away from uprooting completely and starting a new life in a new time zone - new apartment, new friends, new school (for the first time in a long time). New you. And there's a lot you'll have to leave behind.

- Impromptu dinner parties with The Girls, who make you laugh harder than anyone you've ever known.
- Friday nights out at The Spot, where you're genuinely happy to see the people who stop to say hello.
- Ice skating in the park.
- Ice cream cones in January.
- That one view of the city that you still love, even on days when you can't wait to leave town.
- Your roommate's cat who barfs at least once a week but still manages to be quite endearing.
- The dive bar in the 'burbs you all end up at until much too late on a weeknight because you just can't help yourselves.
- Remembering what used to be in the storefronts where the chain restaurants have since moved in.
- Those rare perfect days when the wind lets up and the sky is the most beautiful shade of blue.
- The friend's family who have taken such good care of you when you needed it most.
- The friend with the extremely expressive face to match the extremely snarky sense of humor. The friend you've known since at least two lifetimes ago. The new friend who you hope won't get lost in the move. The friend who helped this whole change to happen in the first place.

And so much more. Bad stuff too, but you never think of the bad stuff when the melancholy of leaving sets in. It's all wistful glances backward at the good times that were had.

There are many reasons to go, better than the reasons for staying. The new town, new school, new career path, new you all promise to be not just new but improved - that's the big selling point, right? You'll be new and improved and there will always be long drives back to visit and see how much has changed since you left.

It was twenty years ago that you cried over the ugly, broken dining room chandelier that was being replaced. Even then you knew that the new light would be so much better, but you couldn't help being sad for the loss of the one you'd always known. Is trading one city for another any more or less trivial? Any more or less difficult? At least Boston won't be sent to the garbage dump on Monday morning.

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