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I moved out of my parent’s house for the first time in June. It was weird at first, being around roommates who were not my family and who weren’t designated by birth to care about me or love me. I noticed that right away.

I remember feeling confused and lonely. I thought I was lonely. But I think I was just looking at the world in the wrong way. I thought the world owed me something. I thought the world was supposed to love me. I thought the world was supposed to offer to make me toast for breakfast. I realized a few weeks later that the world doesn’t owe me anything. I just live in it.

In the second week of November I moved back into my parent’s house. I had accumulated a few more belongings since I’d left, like too-tight shiny disco shoes and even more books and a box of pasta. Four days later I moved to Prague.

Moving out of your parents’ house is strange and hard. But after that, after you stop believing that the world and the people in it owe you something, it’s easy. Moving is easy. Moving to Prague, was, surprisingly, easy. (Aside from the leaving your friends and family part.) You just get on a plane.

The world doesn’t owe me anything. It’s not going to hand me anything. So, I guess I have to take it.

People have called me brave. I am not brave. I just do things because I want to do things and I know I should do things because doing things is better than not doing things. Moving is better than not moving. Telling the boy you like him is better than not telling the boy you like him. Buying Nutella is better than not buying Nutella. Etc, etc, etc. That’s not bravery. That’s just doing. That’s just taking stuff, in a way, from the world.

1. Everyone needs that one friend who has excellent taste in movies/music. If you don’t know that person yet, go find them! They won’t come to you, they have too many movies to watch!

2. Kindles/other electronic readers are so not as handy as people claim. “Now I can read without carrying a book around!” Yeah, right. If you say that, you definitely never carry a book around anyway.

3. Sometimes it just seems like it’s always too late.

4. Don’t give yourself away so easily. Stick up for who you are. After all, that’s all this place is is people and other people who follow them around.

5. That awkward moment when someone introduces themselves and then you immediately forget their name.

6. Why are all the cool/successful people 32 or 35?! Does it take that long to become cool/successful?!

7. Words of the week: clarity. grandiose. honky. tragedy. expectations. tetanus.

8. Let him/her go, but not completely. Just enough.

9. Let’s be honest here, food pics are great. Don’t be ashamed! How are selfies ok but not food pics? No way. Let’s start a revolution.

10. I still think you’re beautiful.

There is a very specific conversation I’ve had before with people I loved or cared about at the time, or with people I had wanted to love or care about in the future, when they were leaving, or when I was leaving (but usually the former), leaving for good, and I’d have this conversation knowing I’d never see them again or speak to them again, etc. It’s only happened a few times, this conversation, maybe only twice that I can remember clearly. Once was in second grade, when the girl I called my best friend moved to West Virginia, and I knew I would never see her again, even though I wrote down her new address on a scrap of paper I then proceeded to lose, and now I’ve lost everything of her: her name, her face, and her address.

The second time was many years later, in High School, with the boy I (secretly) called my boyfriend, that someone else would call my crush; a strange friend-like-but-not-friend-like relationship. Relationships get more complicated as you get older, but the simple moments of leaving stay simple and stay with you. He was just changing schools, but I knew that our strange fragile relationship wouldn’t last, wouldn’t survive the separation. I knew I would never see him again, and I told him so in our very last conversation, and though he denied it, though he said we’d see each other again, hang out, talk, go places, we didn’t, we never did, we never have, we never will.

I feel another of these conversations approaching, but I feel like the next one will be different, possibly won’t include a conversation at all, and it might be directed at or include the city I live in, was born in, have spent most of my life in, as well as all of the people I’ve ever met, or seen, or spoken to on the streets of my childhood neighborhood, in the state and region and road I grew up in and on and around. I’m leaving, moving, growing up and taking off, and saying goodbye to people and places, or maybe not saying goodbye at all, maybe just thinking back, reflecting, taking it all in once more as someone drives me to the airport, or as I cross the state line in my little black sports car, trunk full of belongings which will be my material memories of this place I’ve been in for so long. And maybe it’ll be different this time, this goodbye will be different than all the rest, won’t be for forever; we’ll still have holidays, and funerals, and maybe a couple months in a few years if I lose my job and my apartment and move back home for a while. I won’t lose everything from this relationship, although the faces will fade, and I might get lost on the side streets next time I drive on them.

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You wake up and you feel it almost immediately. You try to shake it off, brush your teeth, eat breakfast; it’s still there. Maybe it’s in your house, along with all the good and terrible memories. You get in your car, drive away toward somewhere. Where can you go? Shopping? Maybe that’s how people become shopaholics. Addicts. Maybe they’re all the same. Maybe we could all easily become like them; we were just born into different circumstances — found ourselves in a better place when we popped out into the world, and now we all struggle to stay upright where our mothers left us.

You pull into the mall parking lot. You turn off your car, but you know you’re not going in, so you roll down your window and sit still for a few minutes. It feels a little better. But running away doesn’t solve anything. What you’re looking for can’t be purchased at any store. Time is the only thing that helps. Time passes you by out the car window; people march in and out of the store, lugging out bags full of things they may or may not need. You put your seatbelt back on; you’ve sat there long enough, let enough time go by, and it’s still the same and it still will be the same for quite some time.

You could call someone. A friend. But it seems that these days all of your old friends are busy living their own completely different lives. It just doesn’t work anymore. Maybe you need to meet new people. Maybe you need to move. Anything to avoid staying here and falling slightly down, becoming something else. What were you born to be? This? Maybe new friends can’t help you. Maybe a new city can’t help you, either. Maybe nothing can. Maybe everything is just a cover-up, just a distraction. Just like sleep. That’s why you feel it the most in the early mornings, when you can still hear the birds chirping in the dying trees across the street, before the motors start and don’t stop until well after nightfall. That’s why some days, when you don’t have a calendar full of tasks to complete before you head back to bed, when you wake up and look at the clock and realize how many hours are going to stretch out in front of you, you feel it. Life. Just living. What the birds and the squirrels would feel if they had brains like we do. Emptiness. Or, rather, not emptiness. A lack of something that is full of something else. An empty fullness we try to cover up with the society we’ve created. With the laws, the stop signs, the uniforms of employees and school children. With religion. With purpose; an easy purpose, one-size-fits-all, that can be found in several different very old books. And, of course, with shopping.

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1. I’ve never believed anyone when they said it couldn’t be done.

2. My spirit animal is sticky velcro dots. Those things are amazing.

3. Love where you are, or leave. Love the people around you, or find new people.

4. You might be a grammar nerd if a stylishly placed comma in an email makes you a little bit gleeful.

5. If Hell exists, I bet it is in the middle of a never-ending casino filled with old people pushing slot machine buttons over and over again and grinning wildly.

6. Remember Adele?

7. Every additional person you love takes a small part of your heart with them when they leave you. You’re never a whole person until you’re surrounded by every single person that you love.

8. They say friendships are give-and-take. Right? So if you find yourself doing all –and I mean all– of the giving, it can’t really be a friendship. Maybe it was once. Not anymore. Let it go.

9. I’ll say it again: Only you find your pet stories hilarious. Only I find my pet stories hilarious. Some things, you just can’t share with other people. Or, at least, you shouldn’t.

10. Saying what you mean is sometimes the hardest thing to do on the planet.

It’s about to happen again. Brace yourself. I’m about to quote… me.

I was flipping through an old notebook when I found it: a page in-between notes about philosophy. Wandering thoughts after classes and late at night – I have them a lot. Here’s one from 4-17-12 at 2AM. (Yes, I dated it and time-stamped it, too. It’s another thing I do – in addition to quoting myself.)

No one is ever happy with where they are. Americans want to live in England, Canadians dream of Ireland; all while the English pine for the USA and the Irish gaze longingly across the sea. Beauty is all around us. Happiness can be found anywhere. We all just want control over our own lives – any control at all, whatever we can get. We believe with all our hearts that our lives will be better spent elsewhere, so we spend all our lives looking for that better place. Those who claim to be content with their lives aren’t, really. They’re fooling themselves – lying outright and believing every word. You’re not content – you’re stupid. You’re pretending. You’re stuck. You’ve convinced yourself that changing your life in any way would cause you harm. And that might be so – but not changing is far worse. Living a life unhappy – what was that for? What do you get out of that? Can anyone really be content, living that way? If so, I feel sorry for you. Yet, someone has got to do it. The world needs McDonald’s workers, dog groomers, cashiers. Someone has got to do it. Not me – so, you? Or, move to Ireland. Which sounds better?

Oooh, harsh. I think there’s truth in this, though. What do you think? Throw some quotes at me!