I think the idea (and reality) of me leaving has hit. I had my last day in the office Thursday to distract me, then my going away BBQ yesterday. Now it’s just me and half-filled boxes spread around the apartment, waiting to be packed and sealed. I feel overwhelmed which is expected though I was hoping to stay zen until I stepped on the plane (and hopefully after). I don’t feel ready for this. So I’ll go through the motions as I need to and slowly get there, though I don’t have much time. Worst case scenario, I leave it all behind.
I’m getting somewhat exhausted at saying goodbye. I feel appreciated and loved, but in some ways I just want to leave already and get it over with. It’s a little bit like a bandaid slowly getting pulled off. Then I feel awkward about it all: the attention, the sadness, the guilt over leaving, the “nice to know you’s”, “we’ll be in touch”, “let me know how you’re doing”, and so on. Simultaneously I’m trying to process and navigate through the feelings I’m experiencing, as they fluctuate from moment to moment. And where is there space for grief? I am no stranger to grief and the pit in my stomach, heaviness and a deep sense of sadness is all there, waiting to have the attention it needs.
How do I leave behind all the memories here? So much has happened, so much has changed. Will I be the same person when I leave? I am not the same person who came here over 5 years ago. I’ve learned to slow down and really enjoy life in a way I never knew how. I’ve learned to value quality of life over career and status and to see people for who they are versus what they do. I have shed some of the seriousness I have carried with me my entire life and learned to laugh unabashedly. I found and lost love, became motherless, and experienced one of the greater losses in my life. I’m older and wiser, and have weathered storms I could’ve never imagined to have rained down on me.
Yet I move on, trying to be brave as I start over in a place I call home, even though it’s been 15 years since I’ve lived there. Will it still feel like home? I don’t know. I don’t know what is ahead of me and I’m scared but thrilled about the opportunities that have already arisen.
So much of me wishes I didn’t have to go, but everything within me knows it’s time. I will back, even if just as a visitor.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned while here is that “aloha” is not only real, it’s a state of mind. Hawaii will always have a place in my heart. It always has.