Saying Goodbye is Bittersweet

You wake up, you roll out of bed, you slip into your slippers and lazily walk over to the bathroom to finally take a good look at yourself. You instinctively wash your face, comb your hair, and clean those dusty eyes to wake to morning. You do this another hundred times. A thousand. Several years worth. And without even looking back or thinking about what you’re doing, you’ve grown accustomed to such daily rituals. This is what you know. This is what you call Home.

You go down to town to find the same little boy selling lemonade on the sidewalk and the same weekly pizza sales made specifically for the locals. Every Sunday you dine at restaurants with family all over town because you know which ones taste good and which have terrible service. You’ve walked every inch of the town and rarely find something new to please your young soul. This is what you call Home.

You find comfort in never seeing a new face at school. You are greeted by warm smiles and a hallway in which you feel able to do whatever you wish. A community that has almost become family to you because it it what you have grown up on, and with. You know you can count on these same people to look out for you and watch you, to take you in and help you. This is what you call Home.

My entire life has been sheltered around the same community. This very community has been the one in which I have become the person I am today. The lessons I have learnt, the knowledge I have attained, and the morals and beliefs I have taken up have all originated in this very community I call Home. Throughout all the different phases of interests, music, clothing styles, and hairdos, my Home was still instilled in me, never fleeting or drifting, but always staying, regardless of the many external influences that would come about. My Home has become a part of me. Maybe all of me. But Home is a sense of identity.

Throughout this month, I have been growing more in tune with my Home. Taking up the many various opportunities to get in touch with that Home really has made a charming difference in my life. For the first time in my life, I finally opened myself up to my Home and got something extremely powerful back from it–as through giving into lovers’ courtships, looking more deeply into a friendship, and, most profoundly, leading and serving my fellow classmates through a memorable retreat experience. Although many may not feel totally at home in their Home at times, I can finally say with confidence that after 18 years, I have finally felt wholly and entirely at Home–because I have finally given myself the chance to, and because I tended to the needs I have that bring me pure satisfaction (in this case, consuming myself in productivity doing what I love to bring in a community filled with all I value). This is truly one of the best feelings in the world.

But, like all things in life, a single moment and period cannot last forever, as much as we would like to hold onto it. A solid week and a half serves as a pivotal time to retreat from the massive ‘clutter’ and ‘distraction’ and series of events that have heaved endless love and support and ‘people-obsessions’ in your direction. Sometimes, this point can serve as a time to think about your future and where you would like to take your Home with you. Now, as much as I would love to take my Home everywhere I go with me–to survive the gut-wrenching tides and waves and turns of events that come up!–your tangible Home will always stay stable. But the sense of Home you have built up inside of you, with your love and wisdom and the capacities you have for spreading that love and wisdom, will always stay inside of you if you let it. Home is what you grew up on and what you have come to know. And when you get to that point, there will be a time where that Home will have to be moved and taken to other places.

As decision day for college has been quickly approaching, I’ve spent the week visiting my campuses of choice (well, the colleges that fate has led me to apply to and that college decision boards have granted me access to attending next year). After having such joyous times and a whirlwind of a year, I’ve felt a massive want to hold onto the people and events and environments that have contributed to that ‘high-off-of-life’ feeling I have been getting. I’ve grown so attached to Home and to the people and places that have accounted to it; when I love something, letting go is never easy when it is truly something I have come to cherish, adore, and value. There is a sense of security and comfort you find when you are Home, and who wants to lose that?

Just so you guys know, I have decided on the University of California-Irvine as my school of education for, presumably, the next 4 years of my life. I was so adamant on attending Santa Cruz instead because this Home that I have told you about has become so dear to me that I could never stand the idea of losing that Home.

If you know me well enough, you’d know that I’ve always been a big dreamer and have always had high hopes for the future–sometimes, to the point of it killing me where it shoves me into a huge pit of depression for not having had those dreams actively present. I dream of accomplishing many things, being able to do those things and delving into bouts of different opportunities to further my state of happiness and satisfaction with my station in life; but, at the same time, I want to hold onto what I know and stay Home because I value it and everything about and from it so, so much. But, if I, like many, want to get my life and goals and dreams and ambitions on a roll, I have to take my Home somewhere else.

Growing up is indeed scary–and knowing me, especially for my inborn ‘phlegmatic’ state in life–childhood and simplicity will always be valued and striven for.

Saying goodbye to this place is just another hello for–cheesily–the ‘world of opportunities’ ahead of me. This is the time for me, at least, to further pursue everything I’ve loved and valued so much in my life. My one and only vehicle of expression and interest will finally be focused on as I engage in my writing these next years; my passion and ‘transcendent’ state of being will finally have the ability to flow so naturally as I spend more time playing, making, and being my music; my love for stories and story-telling will finally come to good use as I am able to creatively write and conjure my own stories to pass on my insights and wisdoms I have learnt from Home; and last but not least, my growth and potential as me–Rachel Ann Cauilan–will finally take maximum flight. This transitional period in my life will set the stage for where I wish to go. Will it be writing songs? Composing music? Creating dance sequences? Critiquing films? Concert-hopping? Or finally making that one testament to my life and Home into a motion-picture? Or will it be all or nothing? As the tangible works of my being will finally take flight, my own heart and pure disposition will grow. The gifts I have become aware of will finally come to good use. My loves for the simple–that is, finding and falling in love, motherhood and family, and being something of service and/or profound difference in another’s life–will finally take form (well, in a matter of getting my life into shape; this will have to wait many more years to come). But, yet again, bumps in the road may lead me astray, and, as I should remember, you have to always tell yourself to always find your way back Home. Home is you, and sometimes we may lose ourselves in the process of attaining what we think is us, so, you must keep your Home close to you, wherever you go in life. Never lose sight of it. Never lose sight of yourself.

And, to be more realistic about things, you’ve just always got to “Enjoy the Ride”. You can never put a price on Home, and flying and driving back to the place I know is always accessible. 🙂 After being so sheltered and cut off from things, this is the time to scream and shout–let your colors and light shine. It will always be a scary process, but once you get through, you’ll look back and stand in awe and pure wonder of all of the marks you have made, and the many people you have touched along the way… without even realizing any of it until you take a step back.

This is the time to get to know your heart, and how could it be any better than this?

Saying goodbye is still bittersweet, but this isn’t the final goodbye. There is no end. Just many beginnings.


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