It was only a couple of days ago; I sat on the tarmac waiting for my plane to take off, clutching desperately to a one-way ticket. I looked out the window and searched for a sign, a revelation, if you will. I needed to know I was doing the right thing. Yet desperately as I searched, I was only comforted and briefly saddened by the hazy New York City skyline and the familiar noises of a plane gearing up for flight. While the flight attendants prepared for departure, I scrolled through my text messages one last time. Just then, a message lit up across my screen. I don’t understand why you’re moving so far. Do you really need to leave?
It was a text from an ex. How modern-day cliché? Minutes before take-off, I hear from the one person who made me believe it’s possible to physically feel your heart break. I didn’t respond, but it did make me think, and not just about him, but about the question he asked. I can’t count the number of times I was asked why I felt the need to leave a corporate job to pursue a creative degree. Even more so, the amount of times I was challenged on why I needed to move across the country to do so.
As the plane crept slowly across the runway, I began to think about goodbyes. I was so focused on what moving would teach me, and what grad school would teach me, I hadn’t realized everything I already learned—simply by letting the word goodbye fall from my lips.
I thought about a conversation I had with my college professor a few weeks before leaving. I called her, frantic about life and decisions and the prospect of being an aspiring writer forever. I practically begged her for answers, and in return, she told me something I least expected. “Linds, you have the answers already. You don’t need me to tell you them. You know. I hear in your voice that you know.” I hung up and sat on my couch in silence. I never felt more confused in my life. How could I possibly know what the fuck I was doing?
I was distracted for a fleeting moment, as the wheels came up and the plane took off over Newark Airport. The city below me looked strangely different now, as most things do when you’re leaving. I still didn’t feel like moving was the right or wrong choice, I just felt that I was really doing it. I felt the plane climbing higher in the sky, and I felt the slight turbulent air rocking my body back and forth. I thought about the text message, and everyone else who had asked me the same exact question the last month. Why? I had repeated the word in my head over and over for weeks, and for the first time, I felt okay not knowing the answer. What if the only person that mattered in the midst of all these goodbyes was myself? What if it was OK to leave some questions unanswered? And, in the words of my favorite author, “What if wanting to leave was enough?”