September 5, 2013

on leaving home

In a week, I'll be on my way to Mormon land and college and all of that jazz. In preparation for that transition, I expected to be packing for hours and hours. Boxes of the various things that I have accumulated in my life would line the walls of my bedroom like some horrific episode of Hoarders. After all, I've lived a good, healthy 18 years of life. I've blown tons of money on things I really don't need. Of course, I'd have a lot of things.

On Monday, I grabbed a few boxes to begin this arduous task and started in my bedroom. My "crap drawer" filled with missionary letters, birthday card, notebooks, and pens didn't take too long to empty. It was so fun to look back at all of the memories I've had in the recent years. Oh, look! There's my little copy of the Quotations of Chairman Mao. Oh, look! There are three EFY bracelets that I've hoarded. Oh, look! There are half-a-year's worth of letters from my favorite missionary. Wow. I am super blessed. I put those things in a little box and continued to sweep through the room. I uncovered a huge box filled with half written journals and added that to my small box.

And then I couldn't find anything else to put in the box.

One. Small. Box. That was my entire bedroom compacted into one area. I couldn't believe my eyes. I felt a little sad and nostalgic as I thought about the things I've accumulated in my life. Surely there was more.

So, with the rest of my boxes in hand, I moved to the downstairs bedroom that was practically my lair for the beginning of the summer. I had already picked out a few books that I knew I would want to keep. These definitely had special meaning to me -- A Little Princess, Les Miserables, Jane Eyre ... all of my favorites. Those went into a little box. Oh, look! Here are the things I received from graduation. Wow, I got a lot of medals. Oh, look! Here's a dried flower that Sattaporn gave me. Oh, look! Here are more letters from missionaries! More notebooks. More things. One more box.

Two. Small. Boxes. That was my entire HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE. Packed into two little boxes.

Of course, there were more things that my mom has packed away for scrapbooking and keepsakes. That being said, the fact that my stuff was so little was really strange to me. How could this happen? How do I not have boxes and boxes of things?

And then I realized, my life and my happiness has not been dependent on things. It's been made up by experiences -- with people, with myself, with Heavenly Father. And my life has been so good. I used to think that school starting in the middle of September was a huge curse. I was ready to leave the minute I graduated high school. Now, I really, really am having a hard time leaving. I think about the stability and comfort I feel at home. I think about my best friends -- my siblings -- and it eats me up to leave them. I think of leaving my parents and I just don't know how on earth I will survive on my own.

It's scary, but necessary. I have to go.

For a short amount of time, I will be able to guide decisions for the rest of my life. I will be able to influence others and be a missionary. Sometimes it's hard to for me to leave what I know and to enter the unknown ... It was that way when I left school to be homeschooled and it is that way now that I'm leaving home to go to school. But I know that it's what I'm supposed to be doing. So, it's okay. I'm going to take advantage of the opportunities that are coming my way. I'm going to get out of my comfort zone and make new friends and have new experiences. And even though by the end of college I'll have less things than what I'm starting out with (anything that won't fit in my suitcase is going to the DI), I know I'll have lived a rich, rich semester. Because now I know that life isn't about the things that we have when it's all said and done -- it's about the memories we make in the process. 

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