The Fear of Moving On

There is something about change and saying goodbye that gets to me. This feeling partly comes from my extremely sentimental heart and complete fear of the unknown. On Monday, December 23rd, I will say goodbye. I am transferring out of my office and into an entirely different field. I have spent three years in my own little cubicle overlooking the entire city with gorgeous views of the mountains blanketed with mist, clouds, and whatever Alaska has up its sleeve. Imagining a work day anywhere else is impossible, but I have to face it. I need to move on and stop being a damn caterpillar. [Cue the hook to Mariah Carey’s “Butterfly.”]

But I digress, I just really suck at segueing through life. I cried my eyes out after the last day of high school; I barely made it through graduation. The thought of navigating through college and adulthood was just absurd and came into the forefront too quickly. Quitting my first job felt like daggers free falling down my throat, unsure of where they would land and hurt me. Albeit my boss at the time was all for me moving on and focusing on my education and I was there, shaking like I needed insulin. (Sorry to all my diabetic peeps.) I can hardly even turn in an add/drop form to my academic adviser without feeling like I’m doing something wrong.

But, maybe this fear is beyond just saying goodbye. When I started to think about how much I hated moving on, I thought I may have needed some sort of counseling. To be completely honest, I felt that I might have been overreacting and that this feeling was something I couldn’t control. After all, I had felt this kind of way all throughout life.

I even started to look back at my childhood. One of my first memories was how my maternal grandmother in the Philippines held me so tightly before my family moved to the United States. She told me to never forget the Philippines, always remember the beaches we lived on, how the morning air smelled, the people at our ranch, the sounds of the animals, and her the most. I was six-years-old when we had that conversation. Looking back, it was the first time I knew I was saying goodbye and wouldn’t be able to turn around for a long time. I felt like this is what conditioned my apprehensiveness with letting go.

And, then I found this:

You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.

Thanks for unintentionally confirming my feelings, Tumblr. Like, you know me too well.

It is true, though. I do feel like if I wave the white flag on anything, I fear missing out on everything. When I know I have to let go of people, places, or things, I do feel like a part of who I am will never be rediscovered. It’s like we walk through life leaving pieces of ourselves behind. We make footprints in the sand, but the waves hit the shore, clear them off, and make way for other footprints.  I worry the most sometimes that people will forget me, what I’ve done, or that I hadn’t done enough.

In a sense, if I don’t leave anything behind, I’m facing a figurative death. I’m not dying, of course, but I won’t be around anymore. I may never come back to this point in my life ever again. In fact, I know I won’t. It’s one of those inevitable realizations in our lives. We don’t know when or how these things will happen, but they do and we have to conquer them.

The truth is, we will always feel this anxiety with change. Human beings really do have a tendency to walk away when they’ve finally gained their footing. But, there’s no harm in that. I think we know ourselves well enough to know when it is time to move on. We may not always move on when we realize we need to, but we do eventually.

So, say goodbye. Look for something new. Accept every opportunity. Take every leap of faith. Push through every chance of failure and know that you might just actually win at something. Fearing change only holds us back. Continually accepting its imminence, well, it’s the only way to grow.

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