The final stop of our cross-country trip was my college town of Athens, Ohio. We almost left it off the itinerary in exchange for a city or town unfamiliar to us, but returning to Athens couldn’t have been a better way to end our journey.
This brick-road collegiate town was my home for four years before moving to Hawaii. This is where I started to develop my individuality, hopes and dreams. It’s where I solidified my passion for writing through journalism school, formed lifelong friendships and fell in love with Sean from across the miles.
Upon graduation, I had more questions than ever despite a fancy degree in hand. Leaving the comforts of class in exchange for the beginning of my “forever” was stressful. “Will I make it? Did I choose the right path? Am I ready for what’s next, whatever that is?”
These questions were coupled with hesitations about my decision to move to Hawaii, where Sean was stationed, in an effort to chase both love and a career. “How will I start my career in the furthest place possible from all that I know? Am I being naive for chasing love?”
So many doubts, only to be comforted by my mom’s advice: “Nothing is permanent. Just go.”
This idea that nothing is permanent comforted me, as I let go of the false rigidity I was placing on my decision to either move or not move. The things that do not work are stepping stones, not failures. So, I packed two bags and made the big move.
I haven’t looked back or visited Athens since. In this time, I’ve launched my career, married Sean and am bracing for motherhood.
Coming back to Athens and tracing the same paths I used to walk as an anxious student has given me closure. I left this place full of questions and doubts, all of which have turned into accomplishments and lessons. It has made me count my blessings, hold confidence in my own decisions and trust the unknowns that come with change.
This lesson couldn’t have come at a better time as we find ourselves at the biggest crossroad of change yet. Thank you, Athens, for gently pushing me forward in pursuit of life’s greatest adventures that can’t always be planned or taught in a classroom. You’ve prepared me for much more than just my career, and this I now see.
Tomorrow, we will hit the road for our last 7-hour drive as we finally nestle into our new home. (But we’ll still be in a hotel for a little while as we transition, *sigh).