A Bittersweet Follow-Through

You can’t brace yourself for heartache.

You just can’t. You can’t will yourself to feel sad when something hasn’t happened yet. No matter how many Ryan Adams, Aretha Franklin, Damien Rice, and Feist records you spin, you can’t transport yourself to a lyrical place that doesn’t quite exist. You can get close, if you really try. You can almost pull the covers over your eyes and shut out all the light and pretend you’re overwhelmed, but it’s not worth it, because that little bit of light will peek in, and you’ll remember that there’s no reason to be upset yet. There’s no reason to worry and shut down in anticipation. There’s no reason to jump to conclusions, because, especially when you’re a type-A sentimental sap, the feelings will come.

One of the greatest people I’ve ever met is moving, and this should be nothing new to me. My dumbed-down advice to anyone in your twenties is: be prepared to move, in every way. You’ll leave college, you’ll move away from old trends and to new ones, you’ll watch friends pack up and go, you’ll say goodbye to your parents, goodbye to your family pets, and goodbye to towns you made your own. But you’ll also leave temporary jobs that didn’t fit, you’ll run from bad relationships as fast as you can because your baggage is light, you’ll float around with less responsibility, and you’ll find joy in moving as well, as you move closer towards becoming the person you want to be. It’s a lot to process, never feeling like you have roots, but there’s an exhilarating freedom at the same time.

Bittersweet- isn’t that always it? There’s a fear in watching your taillights drive away and not knowing when I’ll see them again, but there’s such a joy in knowing that you’re going after something you’ve worked almost 25 years for and that you truly care about. I want to be sad, but that’s too selfish for this, because you’re leaving on the best terms.

You told me almost a year ago that you were watching Arrested Development and I invited myself over. You told me 2 weeks later that you were planning to move away to Seattle to chase a dream, and I told you okay. You grew a mustache, I applied to a million jobs. You took all your past scars and turned them into well-crafted music, and my cynicism of relationships melted away. They say the truth will set you free but first it will piss you off, and Lord knows you learned me well enough to make me a better woman, even if sometimes it took bringing up the worst to get there. Now a few hundred cups of coffee (yours: always black, mine: dirty blonde), tambourine solos, late night walks, glasses of good whiskey, rambling phone calls, concerts (yours: sad/longing, mine: loud/obnoxious), celebrations, dances in the kitchen, cheese plates, midnight kisses, endless talks about the best recording gear and/or speakers, bad jokes, new friends, and nights of enduring my Beyoncé singalongs later – you’re following through, and I couldn’t be prouder.

So I won’t rush it. I won’t fall apart nor act overly tough- I’ll just let it be.

I couldn’t brace myself for you arriving, and I can’t brace myself for you leaving, but for now I can at least save the bitter and relish in the sweet.

Because unlike so many people who promise and never deliver, you actually did it, and what a thing it is.

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