Without. Me. Two of some of the hardest words to swallow.
In Utah, I felt like myself. Feelings of happiness would emerge when I headed to school. Confidence danced on my shoulders. I felt alive. I flourished my freshman year of high school, learned so many incredible lessons and made friends that became my family. I felt on top of my game. And I was ready to take on my sophomore year full steam ahead.
I had it all planned out: continue swimming with my swim team, enjoy time with my friends, take more honors and AP classes, get my learner’s permit, tryout for a dance team…essentially continue my streak of living it up. It all seemed achievable - just a hop, skip, and a jump away. But life doesn’t always (almost never) work out the way you plan. That “hop, skip, and a jump” turned out to be to a whole different country.
After living in Utah for only a year, my family received orders to move to Portugal. And despite the fact that everyone was elated for my family and I - telling us about all the wonderful opportunities that we’ll get to experience in Europe, I honestly didn’t care.
I didn’t want to think about all the cool things I would get to experience. I wanted to think about all the cool things that I wasn’t able to experience back home. It pained me to see my friends continue on with their lives. Without. Me. The realization that in my absence my friends would still continue experiencing all of those glorious things drowned me in oceans of discontent. I felt the whispers creep into my mind day in and day out. They will to forget about you once the school year starts. They will all hang out and you won't be there. They will go to dances and you'll be gone. They will join teams and you won't be their teammate. They are living their lives without you. They don't need you. And all these things were, in some form, true and will eventually happen, but my fears and internal pain drastically turned those whispers into shouts. And those shouts turned into heartbroken thoughts, thoughts that I desperately wanted out of my mind.
But no matter what I tried - checking up on my friends, unfollowing my old school’s Instagram account - nothing could rid me of the grief that accompanied the truth that I was no longer living in my comfort zone. Things would never be the same. I never ever want my friends to stop their own lives just because I physically moved out of theirs, but in all honesty, it hurt. It felt like I was stuck while the world that I loved, that I knew, moved on. Without. Me.
Moving on and looking back at what others are doing almost always creates an unbearable, crushing feeling. It’s ok to feel sad for yourself. It’s ok to mourn for lost opportunities. But it’s also important to remember that we’ve all been placed in a location for just the right amount of time. We’ve all been placed in environments to accomplish things that were only meant to be accomplished by us. It's an arduous task mentally, but we have to remember that when we move on to a new place, greatness awaits us there, too.
This Blog’s Bible Verse: Isaiah 43:18-19, “The Lord says, ‘Forget what happened before. Do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert. I will make rivers in the dry land.’”