Life is hard. It’s hard to be responsible – both for myself and for others (I am responsible for students’ learning and that is simultaneously a great honor and so terrifying). It’s hard to be in a new place. It’s hard to grow up.
At first, moving away was exciting. There was an apartment and a classroom to set up. I was in a new place and it was fun to explore! And also, there are like three Targets in driving distance here. That’s pretty different.
But the excitement of a new place and new things slowly turned less exciting. And now, I’m still here, and this is not Clemson.
All of this has me missing home like I never have before. I miss the particulars and the Clemson-ness of it.
I miss tiger paws painted on the roads. I miss Spill the Beans on summer evenings. I miss passing cars I recognize. I miss running on the sidewalk past my dentist’s office after school. I miss being close to Camp and being able to visit whenever I want. I miss seeing my family all over town and I miss my house. I miss All In like nobody’s business.
I miss feeling like my town knows me just as much and well as I know it. I miss Clemson being my landing pad.
I knew it would be hard to be away. I lived in only one place for 22 years, and I loved it. And then I decided to leave it. So I wasn’t expecting it to be easy.
However, it’s different to know that something hard is coming in the future than to be in the middle of a hard thing and realizing that oh, this is that.
But just because life is hard and I miss my mom’s cookies doesn’t mean I should go home. Just because I wave at every Clemson-stickered car doesn’t mean I need to be there.
Hard things are often also good things. I love Clemson, but that doesn’t mean the best thing for right now would be for me to live there (by that logic, I’d probably be living in Spain).
I know that I live here but right now, Clemson has more of my heart.
But: I am growing here. Small, tiny roots are sticking into the ground. It doesn’t mean I’ll be here forever, but I’d like to know that I can make it somewhere other than the one place I already have.
I know I made this choice to leave. Nobody asked me to go away from the most blessed town in creation (aka God’s country). I knew the transition wouldn’t be seamless, and this is that. I really hope it doesn’t take another 22 years to feel at home here.
But here’s something: yesterday I was at the grocery store, and I saw a friend’s car in the parking lot. I was exuberant because that is progress.