Today is the day I wasn’t sure would ever come. I’m about to board a plane which will take me away from Tucson and the life I created here during my AmeriCorps term. As I sit in the airport, I can’t help but feel a little sad about leaving. The beautiful weather coupled with an abundance of hiking trails, the laid-back people and pace of life I didn’t think existed in America, and the fact that it’s hard to find bad Mexican food, unless you hit up Taco Bell, are all things I’m really going to miss about Tucson. I guess this place became a little more like home for me than I realized during this past year. I had never imagined myself living here for very long, but now that I’m leaving I feel a little sad. It could be that the snow and cold weather awaiting me in my home state of Illinois have me feeling a little blue and cold in anticipation, but it’s probably the fact that for me Tucson was a stepping stone towards a grown-up independent life away from the stigmas of my hometown. It signaled a step in the right direction for me, and now as I prepare to take a small step backwards before propelling myself into the world, I don’t regret the decisions I made that brought me here, the same way I won’t regret the decision that is about to take me halfway around the world.
In my short life I’ve been fortunate enough to experience living through the lens one only gets after something earth-shattering changes your view of it forever. If that moment in time had not happened for me, I might never have ended up here in Tucson. I might never have looked into AmeriCorps. I might not be headed to Southeast Asia. To some it might seem unconventional to give up everything for a dream and a promise I once made myself, but I’m leaving my life here in Tucson, just as I will once again leave my life back home, as a way to fulfill both and to keep myself from wondering WHAT IF for the rest of my life. I don’t claim to know much about living, or even about most things in general, but I do know how to make myself feel happy and fulfilled every day. Before I move on to becoming the adult I hope to be, I have to let go of the things that make me feel like a restless teenager. I need to fulfill the last promise I made to myself during that moment in time when my view of life changed along with my world. I have no idea where I’m going to end up, or even if I’ll ever find myself here in Tucson again, but the mystery of what my future holds makes every decision that much sweeter.