Since taking a big step and leaving my San Diego home for the first time in six years, I have had a wave of emotions consume me. Excitement for the summer to come, nostalgia for the familiar–all feelings I am not all too surprised about, quite honestly.
Since my last post, a lot has happened! I currently am sitting in Montana Coffee Traders in Whitefish, Montana, where I have been placed for most of my summer. Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes in Alberta, Canada are where our trips in this region explore, and I have been so lucky to see some quite breathtaking sights so far.
However, I will admit, there have been times where I have missed the golden coast a bit too much; I found this shocking, as I usually never get homesick. The last time I can remember being homesick was when I was studying abroad for the summer in Osaka, Japan when I was sixteen years old. Since then, whenever I have traveled–even when I headed out to Italy for the semester in college–I never got homesick. Nevertheless, it was bound to happen probably. I temporarily replaced the beautiful vast ocean with new mountain skylines, old friends with new ones, and I have no problem whatsoever with growing with these new experiences and challenges of a new location.
Trading the ocean …
A few months ago, I briefly mentioned I briefly mentioned my experiences with those close, tight-knit groups of friends of mine who I have had for years upon years. In that post I spoke about the unfamiliar knowledge involving the fact that some people who enter our lives do not always stay.
It hit me a few weeks into June; I was the one doing the leaving this time. Which–duh, Janine, you left San Diego, so, duh, yes, you were the one leaving–is pretty obvious (honestly, I do have moments where I’m not the brightest one in the bunch, let me tell you!).
I’ve heard some people say that it’s easier to be the one leaving rather than to be the one who’s left, and let me get back to you about whether I agree with that or not.
Because when you’re the one leaving, you have to remember that life does not stop because you have left. Your old friends, your old communities–they will continue on just fine without you because they have to. I definitely had never had that feeling of FOMO until I heard about all of the fun things my friends back in San Diego were doing. And yet, I couldn’t complain whatsoever, because well, I chose to leave. I could not help, but feel some stings of pain when I told friends that I was jealous that they were at the fair, or the beach, or at a concert, or at happy hour, or at a USD alumni event, or whatever, and their was response was, “Well you’re the one who left!”
Yes, I left for a fantastic opportunity, and yes, I definitely do not regret leaving what was familiar for something new and challenging, but what I had yet to learn was that when you’re the one leaving, you have to accept that those people you left behind may or may not realize that they are doing perfectly fine without you. Or perhaps some feel anger and resentment towards you for leaving them behind. How are you to know? It is important to remember, that just as it can be challenging to be the one leaving, imagine being the one left. I have to remind myself to not get too upset about friends’ responses (or lack thereof) because quite honestly, how can I get too angry when I was the one who potentially inflicted that pain?
In any case, those friends who, upon your (maybe) eventual return, stick by your side are those who are friends for a lifetime. Those are the best friendships–the ones where you can grow separately, though miss them terribly, encourage them to take on challenging experiences, and return together again with an even stronger relationship.
To all my dear friends back in San Diego, I do miss you so!