All That You Can't Leave Behind


On my way home from Bar Harbor, I spent a half hour in a little coastal town on the coast of Maine whose name I can't even remember. I was nothing more than a passerby in an unfamiliar place and I loved every moment of it. I've always been fond of crusty little beach towns like the one in these photos. They possess a sort of enigmatic charm that you don't encounter anywhere else and I can't help but wonder what it'd be like to call such a place home. These are the places I spend weeks fantasizing about and every time I revisit these photos, I find myself dreaming up stories.

Today, I am thinking about change. Since moving cross-country from New York to Portland, I haven't had a whole lot of time to really process the implications of such a huge transition. A month ago, I left my entire life behind on a whim to start a new life in a city where I had no house, no job, no friends (other than my roommate), and no connections. There was a part of me that was utterly convinced that I was going to fall flat on my face and return to the anxious state that enveloped me the last time I was out in the world on my own. But I left New York determined to keep an open mind and, more importantly, an open heart to any and all possibilities that presented themselves to me. So far, I've done just that and so far, great things have happened. 

When I left my hometown for the first time five years ago to go away to college, I was so afraid of failure and rejection that I isolated myself from everything and everyone around me. In doing so, I didn’t even give the place a chance. There were so many wonderful, talented, and inspiring people around me and I wish I’d had the courage to let them in. That, however, is in the past. When encountering change, I find that it’s easy for us to close ourselves off as a means of protecting ourselves and our hearts. 

Change can be a scary thing, especially when the outcome is unknown. When I moved back home after graduation, I wasn’t really whole anymore. But after a lot of hurting and countless waves of sadness, anger, and regret, I started letting people in. That is what healed me. After over two years there, I was convinced that I could have stayed in my hometown and been happy. I was comfortable there. And this is why I left.

If moving across the country taught me anything, it’s that the best way to combat the fear of the unknown is to face it head on. And the day before I left, I decided that I was brave. I refused to let myself fail. And I embarked on the journey of a lifetime determined to let people in once I made it to the other side. As a person who used to keep herself closed off and detached from the world, it’s so fulfilling to be existing in the world this way. This is what my hometown taught me. It taught me that healing and happiness comes when you’re willing to open yourself up to the people around you. 

I’m gradually becoming comfortable in this new place and it’s starting to possess a familiarity that felt impossible when I first arrived. Still, I feel as if I’m transient. I feel like I’m in limbo between what was and what will be. When I talk about home, I’m still talking about New York as if I still reside there. I often have to correct myself in conversations because I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I live here. I must say, I’m excited to look back on this transition after living here awhile and be able to reflect with an entirely different perspective.