I recently wrote a post about processing your experiences. But today I will be switching gears (har har) to talk about a more immediate experience, one that has not been mediated by time, space, or perspective.
Epic Road Trip I’m on.
If you’ve signed up for the newsletter, you already got a taste of it yesterday. But here is where I’ll be posting my observations and stories along the way, as they happen.
Observation 1: Leaving is harder than Going
As stressful as it was to throw a party the day before leaving D.C., it was an awesome party. Friends came from far away, in sickness and in health, bearing non-space-taking gifts and their love and encouragement for the journey.
It was still difficult to let go of things I thought I could use in the next 6 months. Friends helped.
It was painful to cart so many boxes down to the post office, my biceps and forearms protesting the awkward burdens. Friends helped.
It felt so rushed, with so much pressure to Get Out Of There. I ended up leaving 3 hours later than intended, and forgot all the coats and bags hanging in the closet. (D’oh!)
But as soon as I got out of the familiar suburbs of DC, passing through the Beltway to merge onto I-95 S, it disappeared. I felt lighter, giddy, exhilarated, yet calm.
Leaving is harder than going.
Observation #2: Social Capital Counter-Balances the Learning Curve
You may or may not have heard of the term social capital; basically it means that you have assets based on the relationships you cultivate, and what the people in your networks can help you achieve.
I realized as I passed Braddock Rd that eventually I would forget all those things I had learned, all that local knowledge I had built up, and that some of the relationships I had cultivated will dry up and drop off. The same thing happened after I left San Jose, after study abroad in Paris, after Istanbul. It’s natural, after all, to make new attachments and let go of the old.
Moving to a new place will involve new acquaintances, finding new businesses to frequent, learning local streets. The transition time will be a low in terms of social capital, but a high in terms of learning, something I’ve been missing a lot lately.
While I am learning, everything will be exciting!–new!–scary!– and then as I settle in to a new routine in Portland, OR, things will become easier and relationships will start up again. Another wonderful learning cycle.
Do either of these ring true for you? Tell us in the comments whether you agree… or not!