As I sit here on my lonely stool typing this out surrounded by complete strangers with nothing better to do on a Friday night than study or work, a thought occurred to me.
Remember when you couldn't wait to leave your parents house? Remember how you wanted to get out of town to go to school and live your "dream"? That's all you could think of at that time, but when it finally came time, you realized something important. You gained your freedom and your "dream" life in exchange for something you've been taking for granted for a long time.
For the first time in your life, you finally truly missed home and the family that loved you like no one else can. It was your decision, and it was the trade you made. You suddenly feel that emptiness inside and you miss them like there's no tomorrow. You didn't expect it would feel this bad, but it does.
It doesn't help that your "dream" life wasn't as bright and sunshiny as you thought it would be, does it? Even the things you thought would be difficult were more like hell. Life is systematically trying to chip away at every inch of what you've got. Everyone who always had your back are now thousands of miles away. Everyday you wonder why you began this journey in the first place.
Overwhelmed by this strange new world, you make your first phone call home. It feels a little different and foreign. You've called them thousands of times before, but never like this. As you hear that "hello" on the other line, nostalgia rushes through your mind. It feels like you're home again, but you're not. You try not to show how much you miss them, but it's obvious. You're voice never quivered the way it does now. Time flies by, and before you know it your saying goodbye with a heavy heart. So ends the first night. Then the second, the third, the fourth, and so on.
You work during the day and attend class late into the night. As you take your solemn lonely walk to your apartment at night, you feel the quiet darkness surround you. No one to chat with cheerfully. No one to complain about you coming home too late. No one waiting for you. There, at the end of your night, is a dark bedroom with one bed and a desk where your books and studies await you. So you study. Eventually, your neck and your back begin to ache. Your vision blurs. Your head gets heavy. It's late, and you've got that big exam tomorrow morning.
But before you fall asleep. You do one more thing.
Exhausted by the struggles of the day, you muster enough energy to carry yourself across the room to open the closet. It's like a nightly ritual by now. Underneath that pile of clothes you pull out a few old photographs. You carefully sort through each of them until you find the right one.
Smiling back at you in the stillness of that crumpled old photograph are your parent's loving faces. There they are smiling proudly at their child for taking on life head on. You've lived your life according to their guidelines thus far. You've worked hard. You've taken care of yourself. You've treated others fairly. You've never let anyone down. You've reached for the stars, and you've never looked down on anyone in the process. As you remember their words and their lessons, you quietly place their photos back underneath your clothes. It's getting really late.
So you fall asleep again not wondering why you began this journey, but relieved to know what keeps you going.
If life brings you to your knees, then you simply crawl until you can stand again.
Thanks mom and dad.