Oh geez, our last weekend in Atlanta. I can't process everything I'm feeling. The goodbyes are so hard that my emotions have shut down and, instead, I'm in survival mode (AKA let's get everything done mode). I can't believe we are saying goodbye to so many sweet friends and a city we've known and loved for almost seven years. It feels unbearably hard and, at the same time, I am so excited for what is to come.
When I moved here, I thought it might be for a few years - perhaps just one or two. I never could have imagined it would be for the better part of a decade. But, here I am, seven years later, in a completely different phase of life.
I was 24 when I arrived, bright eyed and totally unsure of who I was, although I didn't know it at the time. I was clinging to an unhealthy relationship like Cheetos: I know they aren't good for me, but sometimes I want them so badly anyway. I was new in my career and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was uncomfortable with sadness as an emotion and let food rules and exercise run my life.
Here I am at 31 and that season feels a world away.
Now I'm married (obviously not to the Cheeto guy) and intuitive exercise and eating are hugely important tenets in my life. I'm also far more certain in my beliefs, my career and (finally) unafraid of sadness. Because without sadness, there is no joy! Most importantly, I have met incredible, influential, kind, thoughtful people that have forever impacted my life.
Oh, Atlanta, what you have meant to me, how you have changed me. I feel so grateful for all of the seasons this city has seen me through and the deep, real friendships it has brought me. I found Chris here and, in a lot of ways, feel like I found myself, too.
Have you ever felt like you miss something even before it's gone? Ever since we decided to move, my days have been marked by this. We'd take a walk after dinner in July and, all of the sudden, my breath would catch and I'd realize how much I'd miss our street, our humid city. I could actively feel myself missing it, even though we still live here.
We'd be laughing, having drinks on the patio at Ladybird with friends and suddenly, I'd become overwhelmed by how much I'd miss this place, this life. Walks and wine nights with friends, which once felt commonplace, have become cherished. This could be our last time... I find myself thinking every time I do anything.
I'm reminded today, as I sit in our empty house, that the most bitter goodbyes mark the sweetest chapters. This move is hard, not because it's wrong, but because Atlanta was right for so long. This chapter was precious and important and, as it comes to a close, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the people and memories this city has given me.
Here's to you and yours, Atlanta. I love you and I like you.