1,400 miles. An unthinkable drive, a day spent on a plane, and the distance to my new home: Providence, Rhode Island. 1,400 miles – the space between everything I know, and the unknown – Sounds daunting. And it could be, but instead of letting it terrify me, I break down the distance into sections of my life, each representing a piece of who I am and why. The memories that created my now 18-year-old self.
Miles one through 700 were literally spent on foot and bike, but spent figuring out who I would be. I hold my family completely responsible for making me the way I am. My cousins were my role models and aunts and uncles were like books of life hacks and weird facts that I was blessed with at every Sunday night dinner. My father’s booming voice has now become mine, for better and for worse. I can hear my attitude in my little sisters’ personalities – sorry mom.
I attempted to turn my aspirations, like playing college tennis, into realities roughly in the 1000 miles range. With that came determination; at least four days of the week I went straight from school to tennis. With such strenuous, frequent work I would forget I was actually trying hard because of the habit it became. Between playing up to five hours of tennis every day and keeping up with studying for AP classes my sophomore and junior year, I felt like a machine – not a teenage girl.
Later when I hit teenage road bumps, I was lucky to have a superb crew of friends behind me. Little did I know they would be my life travel buddies for six years, having my back from my first crush to my first heartbreak and everywhere in between. Their friendships have spoiled me and will definitely make it hard for these east coast kids to impress me.
The final 1,300 to 1,400 miles of my life have been, cliche as it is, bittersweet. In my “victory lap” I felt a little stuck in between embracing my time at home and disconnecting to make it easier for me to move on. This grey area has made me feel distant from my friends and family, but in the end has forced me to rely on them even more.
When my plane takes off on August 23rd to travel those 1,400 miles, I’ll look back over Kansas City while awaiting the East Coast. The 18 years I’ve lived will soon be a tiny portion of my life, and with every time I come and go from home, wherever home may be, I’ll be making memories with the miles.