Existing in transit is odd.
The past nine months of my life have been spent packing and unpacking, shuffling my belongings into boxes, judging which objects are necessary to bring with in bags. I have constantly been coming and going, never in one place for too long. Living out of a suitcase gives you a sense of how little you actually need to live on.
All day I have been sorting through the explosion that has been my room for the past three weeks, trying to identify what to bring back to school. It’s been a long, arduous task and I have yet to try to fit everything into my car.
The thing about life is that it always seems to be hurtling forward and I’m constantly trying to keep up. I haven’t been sleeping this past week despite my best efforts which include praying, reading, and listening to Shakespeare soliloquies via YouTube. (The Shakespeare is actually counter-productive. Instead of dozing off, I just get really excited.) My mother insists that I haven’t been getting enough exercise, which is ridiculous because my gym attendance is at a record high. This morning, though, my dad brought up how much my life has changed over the past month.
One month ago I was living in London. I lived in alone in a little room in a dingy dorm with an odd assortment of eighteen year old British flatmates. Weekends were spent traveling the country. Long weekends were spent exploring greater Europe. In the past month I moved out of the dingy dorm room, guided my mother around my city, said goodbye to all my new friends, toured Paris, said goodbye to beautiful London, and flew home. Upon arriving at home, I was thrown into a whirl of jet lag, holiday plans, and large family gatherings.
Over the past month I have gone from living in one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in the world to a little town in rural Minnesota. Talk about a culture shift!
Tomorrow I move back to Morris, the tiny little town on the prairie where I attend college. I have half a day to unpack, settle in, and see friends before the onslaught of junior year hits in full force. In just forty-eight hours, my life will be completely different from it is right now. I’ll be in a different bed, living with different people, feeding myself. I’ll go back to working two jobs, striving for good grades, and immersing myself in campus ministry.
As excited as I am about returning to all my friends, I’m also uneasy. I know where my place used to be in Morris. But life pushes on. People come and go, places shift, and I have changed. I’m not the same person I was when I left nine months ago. In turn, Morris isn’t the same place either.
My apprehension comes mainly from not knowing where my place will be now. It would be foolish to expect things to go back to how they used to be. Life pushes forward, and so must I. Adapting to the new-normal is essential. But what is this new normal? What role will I have? I know that I have a place. What will that be? I have no idea.
I made a post similar to this one on my travel blog where I discussed the concept of nostalgia.
To conclude, I’ve been living in the in-between for a very long time. Over the past month, my life has changed dramatically. In a few days, it will change even more. Change is a complicated thing. On one hand, it’s incredibly exciting. On the other, part of you longs for the familiar. I’ve learned, though, that the weird in-between stages of life is part of growing up. But there comes a time to leave the in-between behind. Nine months are a long time to live out of a suitcase. I think it’s time to pack up my car and settle back into a semblance of a normal life.
It’s time to exit the in-between and embrace the new.