Over the past 3 months, I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotions, physical changes and new experiences. I was always told that going to college was a big step, and the first step into adulthood and the so called “real world”, but I never imagined it to be as monumental as it has been. I feel like the whole process first started with graduation (graduation post linked below). Walking across that stage and holding my diploma was the end of one part of my life, and naturally began the next. Summer was interesting, to say the least. And don’t get me wrong, summer was super fun, maybe even the best summer so far, but it came with a lot of reflection. There were days where I couldn’t wait to be in college in my new life, and then in the very next minute I would be sobbing hysterically at the thought of leaving my family. And there were days where I would spend hours getting excited about all the new things to come and there were other days where I would find myself missing high school beyond imagine. But no matter how I felt or what was happening, I couldn’t escape the fact that I was counting down the days until I was in college.
At the end of our summer vacation, we had flown back into Singapore. For me, the next time I would be doing this would be Christmas, after the first semester of my first year in college. At that point I only had one week left in the life that I had always known. It was an emotion week, to say the least. Every time I said goodbye to a person I had a relationship with or every time I left a place I loved for the last time, my heart sunk a little. 2 days before I left, I went to one of my favorite places in Singapore: the Marina Bay. My family and I stood outside Marina Bay Sands and took pictures while soaking in the beauty around us. In that moment, I was overcome with gratitude. I was grateful to have been raised by such a beautiful, open and diverse little island.
The next 36 hours were not the same. I was not grateful but I was sad, angry and depressed. I said by to my sister as she left for practice at 5 am. I buried my head into our couch and bawled as she walked out the door. I said bye to my doggy as he left for a walk and we waiter for our cab, the same time I said by to the house that I called my home. I said bye to my dad, standing outside immigration at the airport as I sobbed and made a scene. I said bye to Singapore as our place detached from Singapore soil, crying into my moms shoulder. And I cried again as we landed in LA, already missing my home. And finally, I said bye to my mom, one of my best friends, as we stood outside my dorm. We laughed, hugged and cried for a solid 10 minutes, before we forced ourselves to say goodbye. It was the end of a 3 month process of closures and goodbyes. I was emotionally exhausted by then and was missing everyone and everything I said bye to. I felt like I had gone through a lifetime of tears in those 3 months.
Sitting in my room, just minutes after saying by to my mom with tears still streaming down my face, I began to think about the magnitude of what all the tears and goodbyes meant. It occurred to me that what made the goodbyes so hard was also what made me the luckiest girl in the world. The goodbyes wouldn’t have been so hard if I hadn’t had so many people and places in my life that cared about me, inspired me and loved me. And while I still missed everyone and everything back home so much, I chose, in that moment, gratitude over sadness. Just like at graduation, I chose to be grateful for the relationships than to be sad that they were no longer right there. Because just like Winnie the Pooh says, “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. And by choosing gratitude, I allowed myself to open up for a brand new start, a new adventure, knowing that all the people, places and things I said goodbye to were always standing right behind me.
Graduation post: https://swimeatlove.com/2017/07/09/a-goodbye-to-high-school/