This is the place you grew up. It's where you attended your first school, met your best friends and made the most memories. It's the place you sat sideline at your brother's little league games while chomping on Big League Chew from the snack shack. It's the road where your dad taught you to ride your bike without training wheels. It's the place where you were planted but bloomed through the experiences you made there. It's your home.
Leaving home is bittersweet. Part of you wants to stay and cling to the memories made, knowing there would be more should you stay. But part of you knows that you need to go. You need to go explore that new place with your head held high, and expecting that the best is yet to come. You know the days behind you were great, but that the future is greater. That thought in the back of your mind whispers softly, "What if you fail? What if it isn't as great as it seems?" But you drown that out. You drown that out because you know you need to pack up and go. Your adventurous soul craves the unknown, yet your mind enjoys the comfort of the familiar.
You can choose familiar. But be warned - if you choose familiar, if you choose the memories behind and the comfort of home, how much more room is there to grow? The bud of the stem has already grown into a beautiful flower, but the fresh floral scent is starting to dissipate. Why not grow a new flower? Maybe it will be a different color next time. Maybe it will be a bold, passionate flower, colored bright yellow. Or maybe it will be more of a pastel shade, one that is a bit softer but still a change of color. I don't know, and neither do you. But why not find out? Why not uproot and plant somewhere else? You won't know until you go.
Now the decision is made. You've thought about it, talked it through with others and thought about it some more. You're going. You've found an overpriced apartment, started telling your family and researched all the great coffee shops in your new city. You're excited and your mind is anticipating the great adventure it's about to embark on. Yet that voice comes back. The one that says, "You can't do this. You're going to fail. You're going to lose all your money. Stay here." It gets harder to drown out this time. You're starting to say your goodbyes to all those you love and thinking you should probably just stay. You start to ponder ways to back out, to just reside in the comfort of home.
Think about it. Really think about it. Yes, you have memories here. Yes, you know many people here. Heck, the baristas at your favorite coffee shop know your name and your life story from the hours you've spent there. But take those thoughts and redirect them to your future. Think about the memories you will make, the people you will meet and the wonderful coffee that is to be poured. You could stay, you could be comfortable. Or you can explore, you can create and be created. You can be forced into uncomfortable situations that will make you grow. Your bud of a stem may be small and tightly bound inward right now, but it will open up and bloom should you provide it with the correct nourishment it needs. Know that there will be times where it is windy and your petals will blow off. But know that your stem is stronger than that. Know that through the winter season when it is cold and dark, it will be summer again and your color will come back. Plant your flower next to others, some that are bold and some that are pastel colored. Observe how they bloom where they are planted and grow with them. Find out how they have sustained through the dark seasons and flourished through the good ones. Begin to do life with these flowers and shed your new seeds among their plots of soil. Allow your seeds to germinate among theirs until you form a beautiful field.
This is now your new home. This is your future. Your previous home will always be your home. Your family is always your family. You may uproot in the future and return, but you will be different. You will be changed. The dark seasons will cause you to be shaken and lose your ground, but you will come back above ground as valiant and brave as ever. Go. Uproot. Plant yourself in a new city, watch how you will blossom and mature.
You are a beautiful flower that is strong and courageous. Go and test new soil. Watch how the weather will change. What color will you be? Will this new season cause you to be bold or pastel colored? Will you be a large sunflower or a little carnation? Whatever you do, whoever you are, bloom where you're planted. Spread your seeds over new soil, allow the rain to strengthen your roots with each drop. This is a beautiful journey you are about to embark on, let it shape you. Let it change you. Let it produce in you a new sense of purpose and meaning. Expand, develop, progress and renew yourself.
We don't always have a choice as to where we are planted, but we do have a choice to bloom there or to thirst and perish. Will you bloom into greatness and vibrancy, or will you perish into sorrow and despair? You choose.
Ready, set, go.