This is the best description I can offer of the last 48 hours:

I’m sitting in an Arby’s stealing Internet, or I’m maneuvering my mattress down a flight of stairs, or I’m buying things like salt and ice trays for the first time in my life, and my whole body feels heavy.

I am weighted down with homesickness. I just packed my things in cardboard and moved away, into the kind of apartment that people say, in an effort to be nice, has “character.” And my whole body misses Boone, wants to be there, wants to get in my car and drive for an hour and just be home.

It’s not that the circumstances of my life are objectively that much better in Boone. It’s not that being there for an hour or two would really help. I don’t want to visit, I want to go to my grocery store and drive through campus on the way to my best friend’s apartment. I want to sit on the grass at the top of Suicide Hill to think, and I want the mountains. I want the mountains so much.

I’ve lived in Boone for five years. Almost all of the best, and many of the hardest, parts of my life happened there. I am making too big of a deal out of moving, but it’s home and I want to be home.

The end of college feels insurmountable, emotionally and financially. It is such a massive adjustment to not only being somewhere else, but being someone else. I keep putting time limits on it, telling myself if I can make it through a year I won’t feel so massively disjointed and thrown out of place anymore.

At the same time, I know this is where I’m supposed to be because I believe in deserts. I believe that sometimes you need abundance, like I did when life gave me Boone and green mountains and good people.

And sometimes you need a desert, so you can pull yourself up and reach for water — work for it, if necessary.

If I’ve learned anything after college, I’ve learned that contentment does not, cannot, come from your external surroundings. I have learned that there is no “enough” unless there is enough in me.

Sometimes, you need to struggle. You need to be out of place. You need a desert. And I hope the challenge of reaching for my own water will make me better, will make me stronger, before this part of my life is done.

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