“I can’t believe you’re leaving”,
she told me over coffee that had gone cold, twirling her hair around her pointer finger like she does when she’s nervous or upset. “I know,” I told her, looking up and seeing the sadness in her eyes that matched mine over this change in our lives, and that was all I could say. Words couldn’t explain what we both felt in this momentous moment in our best-friendship. “When did we grow up?” she asked me. I told her, “Truth is we’ve been growing up since the day we were born.” She said to me as her finger traced the outline of her coffee mug, “You’re my best friend and I don’t want to be a sap and say I wish you would stay-even though I want you to but that’s only because I’m selfish. Katie I can’t be selfish because you’re going to change the world one day and I don’t even think you realize it yet.”
I don’t want to grow up.
There I said it. I’m afraid to grow up because I’m afraid of change. I wrote a post about change awhile back and now that I’m staring change in the face, I’m terrified. It’s scary to leave what you know, to try something new, to grow up into the person God wants you to be. It takes courage to grow up. It takes courage to become the person God wants you to be. It takes courage to leave what you know.
Change is courageous. You are courageous for wanting to change. You are courageous for wanting more. You are courageous for not wanting to settle, for not wanting to be content with where you are right now. We all have at least a little piece of us that wonders what if? What if I changed? What if I decide I want more with this little life I have? I think the problem with most of us is we’ve been taught that wanting more is wrong. Wanting more is selfish. Why would you want more when you’ve already been given so much in this life? Maybe I should clarify what my definition of wanting more is. To me; wanting more is not needing more. Wanting more is a thirst, a desire to do something different. Wanting more doesn’t necessarily mean more money, a nice car, a better house. Wanting more is quite simply just wanting something else out of life than the norm. Wanting more means something different to everyone. My definition of wanting more may not be yours and that’s okay. Everyone lives a different life and everyone is going to want something different out of theirs. For me, wanting more is not a 9-5 job, living in the same town, getting married at 25, having three kids and a white picket fence.
Maybe I was born different because for as long as I could remember, I’ve never wanted the average, normal, stereotypical life. I want to travel to all the different corners of the world and leave a piece of me with everyone I meet. I don’t want to live an average life because I’m not average. I want to experience the kind of life that novels are written about. Maybe one day I’ll put roots down but only time will tell.
I told him I was leaving. It’s hard to tell people you’re leaving, especially people you care about. You think about what you could have been, what you would have been, had you not listened to the piece of you that wants more for your life. So I told him, over chicken nuggets and waffle fries at Chick-Fil-A. I should clarify, this wasn’t a breakup as we were never dating but it was one of those friendship-relationships that felt like more for both of you but neither one of you wanted to make the first move (but this is a story for another day.) He was quiet at first. Maybe he was thinking about the same things I was. All the time we wasted because we were too afraid to say we wanted more and that we wanted more with each other. He took a sip of his sweet tea, looked me in the eyes with fierceness and truth and said to me, “I could be mad or sad or upset because of all the things we should have been to each other and could have been, honestly. But I’m not. I’m happy for you. Because you deserve so much more than what you’re getting here. Just promise me one thing.” Honestly I would promise this boy the moon and the stars and the sun if it meant our paths could cross again someday. “Okay.” “Promise me that when you make it to wherever you’re going, whenever your dreams are coming true, and you’re the kind of person I know you can be and the kind of person you want to be and the kind of person you’re going to be, promise me that you won’t forget about us little people back here. I’d like to think that sometime, someday, I’d cross your mind and maybe you’ll look back and be grateful for the little moments.” I held my pinky finger up, over empty food containers and ripped up straw wrappers, and in the middle of Chick-Fil-A, two adults pinky promised each other and smiled. It was the kind of smile that held secrets and truths and dreams and hopes and maybes and the right-person-but-the-wrong-time.
We all grow up at some point. One day we’re eighteen and fresh into the world and then we blink and we have bills and houses and kids. We have careers and marriages that we want to last. We have goals and dreams and hopes. It’s scary to grow up but it’s even scarier to wake up one day and realize that the life we lived isn’t the life we wanted to live. Regret is scary. Allowing yourself to grow and want more and leaving people better than how you found them, isn’t. I think that is my goal in life. It’s all I want.
To leave people better than how I found them.