Before college, I lived in the same room in the same house for over twelve years. My desk was filled with notes and trinkets from friends and school events, and tucked in the back of my closet were boxes of old stuffed animals and my homecoming dresses. My bookcase kept record of my reading throughout the years, filled with sentimental picture books, stacks of “Girls Life” magazines, and various novels alphabetically arranged. In my room, I was in a safe place surrounded by the comfort of memories and memorabilia from my entire life’s worth of experiences.
In college, I left all of this behind except for the few pictures and mementos I could squeeze into my bags. I held onto these precious memories from home tightly because, as excited as I was to be at MIT, I couldn’t completely let go of what I still considered to be home. It wasn’t long before a new collection began, packed with me as I moved between dorm rooms, the sorority house, and my last apartment. Holding onto these physical things made me feel like I could hold onto the moment they represented forever, and I was too scared to get rid of them. These were the moments of joy and excitement and growth I never wanted to let go of.
As I packed my apartment room after graduation, it was clear that I couldn’t carry all of these things with me any longer. Not only was it impossible to take them with me as I relocated overseas, I realized that by not letting go of these objects, I was never truly allowing myself to move fully into the next chapter of my life. The physical and emotional weight of wanting to hold onto every moment forever was keeping me tethered to the past and not preparing myself to be open for the journey ahead. These memories will always stay tucked within me, ready to be brought out and dusted when I am alone and reflecting or reminiscing with a friend. After all, these are the moments that have shaped my growth over the years and brought me to this point. They are deeply integrated into who I am today, and it would be impossible to separate them out. I will never lose them, so I don’t need to grasp so tightly. The best thing I can do is remain grateful for these moments and experiences and give myself fully to the what’s ahead.