I'm moving on Sunday. Packing up my bags (or at least the stuff that will fit in my beast of a car) and relocating to Miami for a job at Baptist Children's Hospital. It's an odd turn of events that's landing me at this particular location, one that I'll post about another time (or rather promise the post here and then never get around to it), but as far as my employment is concerned, I am quite confident at this point I am going where God is leading me.
I've moved a lot in the past few years. More than even the normal individual in my age bracket/position in life. Between transferring mid-way through undergrad, my parents relocating several times, going to grad school, and moving for an internship I have lived in a total of six cities and nine houses/apartments in the last six years. I don't regret any of those decisions; my nomad-like tendencies have exposed me to a great number of cultures, experience and people that I would have not encountered otherwise. But moving so frequently has its pros and cons.
On a positive note, I've learned how to make friends very quickly. Any introvert-like tendencies were quickly pushed out by a need to fearlessly insert myself into novel groups of individuals and create new social networks. I have become a pro at seeking out opportunities to meet new people and join new groups. However, as a result of having to leave new groups and new friends, I have learned to hold a piece of myself out of these relationships. I often live with an expectation that happiness will not last, and to not depend on those around me to be there when I need it. I don't do well trusting and Im skeptical of people making plans for the future. It is then odd for me to consider this next move as semi-permanent. Clearly, I have no guarantee for how long this job will hold me, but to know that I can jump into things without the ticking time bomb of a deadline hanging over my head, to be able to invest in people, relationships, and groups with an expectation to see a return is mind-boggling. Exciting... but overwhelming.
But with this insight, we move to our attention to the thought that has actually inspired this post- I know I know... too much exposition. Nothing kills a show like too much exposition! (Ten points to the person who can name that reference!)
Moving is inherently a chance for a fresh start. An opportunity to start anew, reinvent yourself, your interests, your relationships and your image. But where does one draw the line between taking advantage of this blank slate... and running from past problems?
We all have emotional baggage, that is inevitable, and it can be very tempting to not unpack those bags, to shove them in a back closet and forget they exist. That doesn't work so well in my experience. You can't run from who you were.
But starting fresh can also mean a legitimate excuse to distance yourself from things (or people) in your past that need to stay right there, in your past. Here in lies my problem- where does one draw the line between running from your problems and taking advantage of a clean slate?
I am so excited for this new opportunity. This summer has served in part to highlight many things in my life that I've been carrying along for way too long, As I've been going through actual, literal boxes and sorting through the things that I need and don't need, it has struck me how much unnecessary junk I keep retransporting from place to place. This is partially from lack of motivation; it is a serious time investment to go through boxes, re-organize and pack. But another reason is I am a bit of an emotional pack rat. I keep things for long periods of time for the sentimental value they hold. Not all of these attachments are healthy though, I've realized that there are some items, and the relationships that they represent, that I need to finally release.
In a lot of ways, there are MANY things in my past that I need to let go of. People. Relationships. Old (and irrelevant) dreams. Allegiances.
Maybe it is in knowing that this may be the LAST chance I get for reinvention that has me taking things so seriously. Always before I knew that another change was on the horizon, and now Im faced with some sense of permanency. If ever there was a motivation to let the past stay in the past, it's here now.
Letting go is hard for me though. It's been a tough summer of finally realizing that just because someone was important in your life in the past doesn't mean that he or she is meant to be in your future. AND not having someone involved in the present doesn't actually undermine their value in the past.
Convoluted? Perhaps. But it's starting to make sense to me.
People grow. People change. And they don't always change together or at the same rate, unless serious effort is put in. It's not unnatural to grow apart. That takes some time to realize.
Our opinion of our own self-worth will be reflected in the quality of the people with whom we surround ourselves. If you include in your friends people who love you, respect you, empower you, and build you up- I can only assume that means you believe you are a person who deserves to be loved, respected, empowered, and built up. However, the times in my past when I have allowed myself to be in relationships that undermined my sense of self, bullied, and treated poorly were times when I had very low self-worth. You get what you expect from relationships, you get what you believe you deserve.
So I'm making a concerted effort to prune out the negative forces. To discern which allegiances are tearing me down, and which are building me up. To put in the active effort to sort through the metaphorical boxes and separate the potential from the junk. To leave the past in the past and embrace the opportunities of my future. It won't be easy- sometimes it's difficult to differentiate a friendship on the rocks that just needs a bit of TLC from one that is spiraling down the drain.
My fatal flaw is that I want to believe in people. I want to believe that every relationship can be saved. And some can. There is some damage that can be repaired through humility and hard work.
But some need to be let go. Sometimes a fresh start is really a chance to move on.