I have lived here for just under 7 years. Before moving here, I lived in my home town for my whole life. I was not nearly as torn up about moving here as I am to move away. For the first 4 years that I lived here, I hated it and I couldn’t wait to get out – it was always the plan to “go back home.” So why, now, am I so unbelievably sad to be leaving?
There is a real reason. And, it’s probably not even a “good reason.” It’s the same reason that I made a decision to stay here even though everything else in my life was suggesting that I choose a different place. It’s not even fair to call it a reason, because it’s a person. I am so sad to leave here because I don’t want to leave K.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many people I don’t want to leave behind. And, there are many things I am going to miss. But I’ve been through the move before. I’ve kept in touch with the people who mean the most to me, even after 7 years. I’ve become re-established and moved on with my life in ways that I never thought I would (like I never thought I would go to medical school). But when I left home, I never left behind someone like K.
K is my friend, just as much as anyone else is my friend. But, she’s always been so much more. She’s been my motivation – usually when I didn’t have any other reason to be motivated. She’s been my inspiration – especially when I’ve had no inspiration. She’s been the person I look up to and the person I aim to please – because I’ve never had someone like that in my life. She’s been my validation – and I’ve never had validation before.
For the past 3 years, not a day has gone by when K hasn’t been on my mind, in some way or another:
“What would K think if she saw me doing this?”
“Maybe I’ll bump into K today.”
“If I could talk to K, this is what I would tell her.”
I have worked as hard, if not harder, to cultivate this “something” with K than I have at anything else – maybe even medical school… maybe even motherhood. Whether that’s good or bad, or just in my head, I don’t know. All I know is that it’s the truth and I can’t pretend it isn’t.
Maybe my motivations have been misplaced. Maybe my priorities have been wrong. Maybe this is the price I pay for having no confidence in myself and having no internal validation. Regardless, what do I do now that I am leaving behind everything that I have come to rely on so heavily?
She says to me that we’ll keep being friends because we want to be. She says that she won’t let me get lost. She says there will be plenty of opportunities for us to meet up either at conferences, or for play-dates half way between our cities (it’ll only be 4 hours between us…). She says she’ll still be there for me whenever I need her (and even now, in the same city, we primarily communicate through email/text). However, I don’t think she really, really knows how much she’s been there for me up until now. Will she want to keep filling that role from so far away? My biggest fear is that she can’t. She won’t. And the distances I have come in the past three years will crumble underneath me.
I have other friends whom I am sad to leave behind, but I know that we will stay in touch: And if we don’t, then it just means we weren’t meant to be friends for long. However, the fear of losing everything that I have built up in K, well it’s not so easy for me to just “accept” that fallout as the journey of our lives.
I know the biggest reason I wanted to stay here for residency was because I didn’t have the strength to make this decision for myself. Everything else in my life suggested that something else was the right decision (and maybe that’s why it was so gut wrenching for me to decide), but I just couldn’t let go of K. And now that the *right* decision has been made for me, I still can’t let it go.