Why I'm Not Upset All My Friends Are Leaving
This summer I've had two good friends move away. One of them decided to embark on a completely new journey in a foreign country, and the other is continuing along a journey they've already started.
When your friend leaves with little to no reason, you can't really help but feel sad or worry that you won't get to use the Lush products they leave in your bathroom. You might even think that their decision is foolish, especially if they don't really have much of a plan. They may not even know if it's the right thing to do.
But let's face it: is there ever really a moment in our lives where we know exactly what it is we'll need or where we'll be in a year? In six months? If you can predict what kind of mental, emotional, or physical state you'll be in within that timeframe, I call bullshit.
We're all under this grandiose illusion that everyone follows a particular direction or chooses one path of life over another because we already know exactly how we're going to come out of it.
You go to college to be a teacher to make money to buy a house to support your kids and we know it's going to work out that way.
The truth is, no, we don't.
Instead, we take a gamble. We do what feels right at the time, or we do what other people think we should do, or we do nothing at all because we don't think we can. And we're completely making it up as we go.
Time isn't linear, and the moment you realize that, you'll see we're all on this big ball of water, bouncing off of each other and trying on different versions of ourselves until our lungs or heart or liver stop and then we're probably doing the same shit in meta-land somewhere else.
If you had told me a year ago that I would be living in Portland thousands of miles away from home with a steady job, a cozy apartment, and less student debt I would have woken you up from the dream you were in.
Or if you said that I wouldn't end up going to law school after all, my blood would boil from outlining all the ways that I'd prove you wrong.
I learned that my dad wouldn't be alive to watch me get married or have children or that I might not even want to get married or have children at all through actual life experience, not from the ideation of it.
I didn't know a single person here and I didn't look for an apartment or a job in advance. People told me it was idiotic, I was making a bad call, that I shouldn't do it. But I listened to what I felt was right for me, and now I'm the most content I've ever been.
That's why when Erin came to me with the news that she was moving to teach English in South Korea, I didn't feel sad. And that's why when Isaac told me he's moving to Brooklyn, I didn't try talk him out of it.
I'm actually happy that they're not going to be around, not because I don't enjoy their company, but because I know they're moving on with their lives for reasons that I can't and don't expect to understand.
So in the defense of adventurers: let's stop this guilt-tripping of people for our personal benefit, shall we? I don't care if you don't think I should've moved because of an imminent earthquake that will eventually destroy everything I love. And I don't need any warning about the influx of Portland housing prices over the next 5 years. Those things won't affect my decision-making because I also don't care that you're not brave enough to follow your own gut.
Instead of hassling me over what you think I should do, why don't we embrace the fact that if you're an intelligent, responsible adult, you can (and should) make your own decisions based on what feels good to you? And maybe then you'll even start making some decisions that are also good for other people.
I'm overwhelmingly proud that my friends continue to surprise me by pursuing new aspirations and by presenting themselves with challenges that no one else agrees with. But I'll still take a phone call every now and then.