So this is it. This past weekend, I moved out of my parents house.

I moved to the city. The city beautiful.

Big buildings. Bigger dreams.

I grew up in a town that although I might’ve complained about a little too much, it was a place that will always be my home. I wouldn’t trade anything about being able to grow up there.  The place where I met my friends, the people who help my soul grow daily. The friends, who I played sports with, drank a little too many on back roads with, and the ones who helped me become me. I remember when I was looking for places to move into, the woman/man who was helping would ask me where I was currently living. I told them, Saint Cloud, and the looks on their faces were priceless. The million (and one) questions about whether I had a cows or chickens and if I lived on a farm were comical at first, but after  awhile, it was interesting that people knew so very little about my hometown.

They don’t know about how although there are bad seeds in every bunch, there are so many good-hearted people that would give you the shirt off their back. They don’t know that fatboys or koffee kup is literally THEE PLACE to go for breakfast. They don’t know that no matter where you end up, you will always brag about how great sip n’ dip donuts are. They don’t know that football is a way of life. They don’t know how much heart is in that town.

I remember when I first moved to Saint Cloud, there were cow pastures when you first drove through town. COWS. EVERYWHERE. Saint Cloud is such a comforting place though. I went to the one of the oldest schools around, Ross E. Jefferies, and I loved every minute of it. I loved being a bobcat. At school, I also met my friends whom I’m still friends with today. I was just talking with one of them the other night about how long we’ve been friends. It’s crazy to think 19 years ago, I met her and we are still best friends. I wonder where we will be in 19 more years. I went to the local high school and I remember speeding down 17th street just to make it on time even though I lived less than five mintues away… and the occasional detour to Koffee Kup. I graduated okay, that’s all that matters. I made many friends and lost many friends in that town. I fell in love in that town. I had my heart broken in that town. Saint cloud made me who I am today.

I often wondered how I would feel when I was finally able to say I moved out of my hometown. Sure, all my close friends had went away to college, and then I made new friends who are pretty great too. Looking back, I don’t think I was ready to leave. I remember being eighteen and feeling like I was, but I wasn’t. Being twenty-four, I’m feel as though I’m ready to conquer whatever life has in store.

Moving away,  I wondered how much I’d miss going to the local restaurants. I wondered how much my parents and sister would miss me. Or how much I’d miss them. I wondered how it was going to feel to pack twenty-four years of my stuff and move it to a city 30 minutes from “home”.

I remember packing my things and finding items that belonged to people who are no longer in my life. I won’t lie and say it didn’t upset me, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that they didn’t make it to my future. I also won’t lie and say I don’t often think about them and wonder how life would be if they were still here or still part of it. You never really appreciate a memory, until a memory is all you have left. I’d give anything to be able to give these people back their things, but sometimes things are better left unsaid. Who knows what the future may hold. I’ll keep the still-frames in my mind and hold on to those moments, because they are all I have left. People change. People fall out of love. People die. Life does go on though. Although, I can tell you many times where I felt like it wouldn’t. These people will always hold so much of my heart, and that will never change.

But what I can tell you, leaving is a very bittersweet feeling.

At first, I was extremely overwhelmed. I continuously would second guess myself and wonder if I was doing the right thing. If I was really ready. 2016 wasn’t one of my best years and I wanted to make sure that I was going to do something that I wanted to do before the end of the year. I wasn’t going to keep living for people who didn’t want me in their life. I wasn’t going to keep pleasing all the people who I thought maybe needed my love, when I knew deep down my love was irrelevant. I wasn’t going to do anything that didn’t make ME happy.

That’s the key.

Doing what makes you happy.

It’s really one of the simplest concepts that we as humans make the most difficult.

I recently posted a photo on my instagram account. It’s a picture of the view from my new place. I wrote the caption underneath it:

“if you were to ask me six months ago if I thought I’d be seeing this view every day, I would think you were crazy. I’m finally seeing the beauty from the breakdown. Trust yourself. Love yourself. It all falls into place.”

Six months or so ago, I was this broken hearted girl. I didn’t know how to pick myself up again. I would tell anyone who’d ask that I was okay and that it was his loss. Even though I didn’t feel that way at all. I wish I could go back and hug myself. Maybe smack myself a few times, but just give myself continuous love that I needed. Luckily, I have an awesome support system and if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here on my balcony, staring at all the lights from the city, writing this for you to read.

It was a long journey. It still is daily. But what I’ve found is that if you find some sort of motivation for yourself, you CAN make your dreams come true. I have many, many things that I still want to accomplish. Yes, I will get down on myself and yes I will probably cry, but I will do what I think I need to do for m y s e l f.  

I’m lucky enough to have an awesome roommate who understands and listens. I’m lucky enough to have my best friends (except for ROBYN) within a twenty-minute radius. I’m lucky enough to have parents who believe in me. I’m lucky enough to have a sister, who although grinds my gears when she tries to parent me, loves me and supports me. I’ve never been more of myself than I have right now.  The world is my playground.

I’m thankful for all the struggles.

I’m just one lucky person.

I think once you’ve realized how blessed you are, then life seems so much sweeter.

I’m thankful for this life.

I hope if you’re reading this, it helps you find strength within yourself to go after your goals. I hope my words give you comfort. You are never alone, even when you think you are. Going after your dreams is scary, but not going after them and living with regret is scarier. When I’m old and grey, I want to be able to tell my grandkids that I did all the stuff my heart truly desired. i don’t know what the future holds. the rest is still unwritten. 

No, it wasn’t easy.

But my god, the juice was always worth the squeeze.