Having this blog has already helped inspire me. I walk around campus looking for the next mediocre photo I can post to the page, something that captures a new side of this place that I haven’t seen, haven’t been looking for.
The dryer hums and rattles behind me, my feet are cool – I wore sandals today in hopes of warm weather. Instead I was greeted with a cold wind that whipped right through my sweatshirt. I guess that’s how being here has made me feel so far.
I expected Maryland to be the reparation for the disappointing college career I’ve had. Sometimes I feel there’s a lot of pressure for me to be happy here, “is it everything you dreamed it would be?” Well, no. I dreamed it would be a great place to meet people, grow and prosper, and explore new things. Instead I find it’s much easier than usual to slip into the sea of people here and go about my day unnoticed. This is the first time in my life that my professors haven’t known my name. I’ve always been shy, and I guess this is where I learn to introduce myself and branch out. Finally forced out of my comfort zone, unlike the terrapin that has come to represent this place, who has all the comforts of home on his back.
But I think I need this. If I never leave my shell, I’ll be stuck. Stuck in the same old town with the same old people in the same old job with the same old problems. I’ve done a lot of soul searching recently, yet I haven’t made any breakthroughs. If anything, my searching has left me even more lost. Where do I go? What will make me happy?
What will make me happy while taking me out of my comfort zone?
I cling to familiarity. There is comfort in familiarity, a sense of calm. But no matter how far my branches stretch, the roots still remain, clinging to the same old soil.
I love my little Middletown. It’s nice to look up and see mountains and a blue sky instead of just brick buildings. There will always be a connection there, but I’m caught between hanging on and letting go. Maybe it doesn’t have to be an ultimatum, but that’s how it feels right now. I fear I will return and never again leave, never branch out and live elsewhere. There are too many places to experience, too many people to meet.
Yet I also fear what it would mean to leave. I would be away from family, from close friendships, from everything I’ve ever known. For the third time in my life, I would be alone in a new place, left to my own devices to figure out where to go.
As I write this, I realize that’s what I need in my life. It’s not like leaving someone behind means letting go of them forever, that the gate will be shut, the bridge will be drawn, and I am left to sink or swim with the crocodiles. Starting somewhere new opens up a whole new storybook for you to fill, and it’s your duty to take the pen and start writing yourself a beautiful, adventurous story.
There’s comfort in familiarity. There’s opportunity in the unknown.