So, I’m about to book my flight back to the US from China. A scary moment. It’s scary not just because the cost of the flight is equivalant to working an entire month on a Chinese salary, but mainly because its a big change. Its leaving behind the life I’ve made myself here in Beijing over the past year, and heading back to the US where a lot is the same, but really everything is different.

I really should be working right now as its 12:15 on a Monday but I can’t shake all the thoughts going through my head right now and I need to get them down on paper.

Countless open-ended questions are circling through my mind right now. Opinions and points of views from family and friends who only want the best for me. Options to go here, recommendations to go there. Self doubt that gets the best of all of us creeps its nasty head in there too.

There’s also excitement. More excitement than I can describe. The kind of excitement you get when you can look back and see what you wrote for yourself in one of the best, most challenging and self-changing chapters of your life and then look to see what you have the potential to write for yourself in the next chapter.

But it is f**king scary standing only a few short pages away from starting the next chapter. The decisions and actions that will write it are difficult to make. I’m scared to make the wrong ones. I question if I have what it takes to acheive all that I’m seeking in life. I’m impatient to acheive it, but cautious to carry on along this path at the same time.

I constantly ask myself what should this next chapter of my life look like? Where should I go and what should I do? I want to go back to New Jersey where I grew up and be with my friends again, but I feel like there are other places in both the US and the World that are calling my name. I’ve spent a large chunk of change exploring this part of the World and need to begin refilling my plenty so I can explore more parts. Does this mean that I need to settle down for a year, maybe swallow my pride a bit and make some sacrifices and take a job that more easily comes my way no matter what the location?

And then I think about why I’m going back to New Jersey. I’m going back because that’s where my best friends are and I consider them my family. I truly am a lesser person without them around. There are some people you truly connect with, that truly get you, and that will always be there for you no matter what happens. What can I say, life just isn’t as good without your best friends there to share it with you.

On the other hand, as I mentioned, the world is calling my name. And true friendships always stand the test of time which I’ve both happily and sadly learned over this past year. At the same time, some of my other best friends have already left for other states or countries. I guess we’re all growing up, staring to do our own things…

It reminds me of this quote from the the show The Wonder Years:

Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what’s to come. But that night, we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves… for growing up.”

Growing up… I tell yea… it’s a bitch sometimes, but the ride it takes you on is one hell of an adventure.

Looking ahead at what would be… the other days, new days, and days to come, and thinking about the sometimes easy and sometimes difficult decisions we need to make in –order to write the pages of our days… I guess sometimes its just a bitter-sweet process.

I’d also like to note though that I’m not talking about growing up in terms of what a parent might say like, “When are you going to grow up and get your shit together?” I’m talking about growing up in terms of when you might say to yourself, “No more screwing around. What am I going to do to truly be the kick-ass person and do the kick-ass things I’ve always dreamt of doing?”

In the end though, all that matters is what feels right for me. Myself included, we all need to remember that the great thing about growing up and writing new chapters is we have the power to edit, rewrite, redo, change the ending, the characters, the turning points, the conflicts, and the solutions. Nothing is permanent. And we all have time to do it too even though it often feels like there’s never enough.

As I sit here stressing about money, getting settled, figuring out where I’m going to live, what job I’m going to find, if its going to be where I want, if I have what it takes to make my own income stream with my own ideas, or consider what sacrifices I’ll have to make along the way I realize that really it all just comes along with the territory of the adventure of growing up. Its inevitable. And we all have the power to look at it how we want to. Its hard to embrace it. Its easy to fight it.

As Kevin Arnold said,

Change is never easy. You fight to hold on. You fight to let go”

(Written 7/18/2010 – Beijing, China)

What’s been the hardest part about closing chapters in your life? How did you move on from them and onto new ones?

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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"What you seek is seeking you."

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