Going to an out-of-state college requires you to live in two places. You must balance two different groups of people, dynamics, cultures, expectations, weather climates, etc. It's exciting and different, but it can also be confusing and difficult, at times, to have two separate lives that continue regardless of your current location.
There is a poem I read last semester that I think of every time I board an airplane. It's called "Where We Are" and it was written by a man named Gerald Locklin, who envies the people who have the luxury of living in two contrasting cities. He loves the "freshness of arriving and the relief of leaving." Personally, however, traveling between Las Vegas and Nashville has always been defined by my reluctance to give in to these emotions. For me, arriving requires both an emotional and physical adjustment to new surroundings and leaving is full of reluctance and dread.
According to Gerald Locklin, "there is always the anticipation of the change, the chance that what is wrong is the result of where you are." This romantic notion seems to imply that your problems can be fixed by taking yourself out of the equation. It proposes traveling to where the grass is greener in order to escape an issue, but what is wrong is rarely a result of where you are. We tell ourselves that if we were just where we needed to be, everything would fall into place. I spent my high school years dreaming of a city surrounded by music, passion and dreams, so I moved there for college. Last night I found myself believing that I needed to be in California instead. I'm in Nashville: a city full of everything I've always wanted, so why am I dreaming of a state 2,000 miles away?
The reality is that when we fixate on changing our physical location, we become locked into a mental state of paralysis. We should be able to do anything we want to, regardless of where we are. The moment we decide that our goals can be reached if we move somewhere else is the very moment that we stop focusing on fully committing ourselves to doing the work. That novel doesn't get written because you live in New York, full of the greatest publishing houses in the country. You don't become a great businessman or businesswoman because you attended the top business school listed on Forbes. You accomplish your goals because you keep your head down and put in the work until you find the door that you desperately need to open for you.
The sense of hope that Locklin discusses in his poem is not provided by traveling somewhere new — it comes from within. I don't need to worry myself with the apprehension of arriving in a new city or the sadness of leaving my hometown, because I am blessed with the opportunity to spend my time in two of my favorite places.
I am finished with being in my head instead of enjoying my life. I am finished with letting negative emotions weight my heart down instead of letting excitement overcome my soul, and I am finished with using my dreams as an escape route instead of a path to success.
That's where I am. Where are you?
Lead Image Credit: Ava Frazier