Deciding to move with my boyfriend to England is the first really big, life shaping, future-affecting decision that I have made. It is indisputably an Adult Decision. It is not that I have never had to make big decisions before, but this seems like the sort of decision that capital-“A” Adults make. It is the kind of decision where I had to really look at my life and ask myself about my priorities and the kind of a life I want to live. Of course I didn’t think about the decision exactly in these terms when I made it (I kind of made it gradually, and one day realized, to my surprise, that I had decided to go), but along the way I had to ask important questions of myself.
Yesterday I was feeling rather scared and sad about leaving. I am in this weird place emotionally where leaving Toronto and my family is constantly on my mind even though it won’t actually happen for another ten months or so. Despite this the decision to leave hangs over my head. I am excited and sad and scared all at once. Mostly I wish that I could just skip the leaving part – the packing up my room, hugging my younger brother goodbye, saying bye to my close friends, my parents, family friends etc. I will be moving away from a really wonderful and supportive community. It is not the actual going away that I am scared of, it is what it means. Taking this leap signifies that I am leaving a part of my life behind – my childhood and my teenage years – and stepping out the door (across an ocean, more like) and figuring out what it means for me me to be an adult in the big wide world (i.e. an adult who does not live in her parents’ attic). I feel as though I am a character in the opening pages of a bildungsroman and I feel like things are about to change forever (because they are) and that is scary.
It is the end of an era for my family, too. My brother will be finishing high school about the same time I will have finished my last credit of my B.A. My mother just finished her Ph.d. and is figuring out what to do next. For the past three years my boyfriend, myself, my brother, my mother and my father have all coexisted in our big old ramshackle house in Toronto. We eat together most nights and get along surprisingly well, considering our rather unusual living arrangement. When my boyfriend first moved in I thought it would be a bit weird to cohabit with both him and my parents. Over the past three and a bit years, however, many of the kinks have been smoothed out and our full and busy household operates fairly well. I am feeling a bit sad at the moment that this will all change.
I randomly stumbled across a a post on another blog that talks about the idea of allowing oneself space to grieve the “small deaths” in one’s life. The post points out that for any choice we make there are an infinite number of things that we did not choose – and that it is alright, and even healthy, to grieve for these things even as you stand by your choice (or are elated about your choice!) and that the grieving for the lost possibilities does not necessarily mean that you have chosen erroneously. This idea is helping me to put in perspective how I feel about deciding to move. I am really REALLY excited to go have an adventure, but I am also really sad that things will change and it is scary that I am deciding to make a big change when everything is already going pretty well, as opposed to simply being passive and waiting for change to happen to me.