Falling From the Nest: How it Feels to Leave Home at 19

Falling From the Nest: How it Feels to Leave Home at 19 | Positively Smitten

By Haley Shoemaker

“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when that person looks back – and at some point everyone looks back – she will hear her heart.” – Paul Coehlo

There’s something magical about moving out on your own.

I know that sounds very Disney – Velveeta, even – but there really is.

There is grace in change. There is grace in embarking on your own journey because it was something you knew you had to do. There is beauty and poetry and vitality in that, even if  the motions (packing your suitcases, cancelling your subscriptions, selling your books) feel mundane.

In a sense, you enter this different universe. All the things you hated about the place you live, all the things that tugged at your nerves and grated at your core, are different. You may feel yourself already distant from them. You may realize (maybe even with a pang) that you’ll miss them. Everything that was dull glitters. Everything that used to cut you feels so much softer.

You know you’ll miss the obvious things, of course: home-cooked meals, kissing your little sister’s forehead, knowing everyone at the grocery store, knowing everyone at work, knowing that your friends are just a bus ride away, not having to pay rent.

You’ll miss the boy who asked if you were “allowed  to look that cute at work.”

You’ll miss walking the dog.

You’ll miss being able to see your mom every day.

You’re supposed to want to fly out of the nest, even if you end up crashing.

And you want to fly – you do – but you also know that once you do, nothing will ever be the same.

That’s a good thing, even if it might be painful.

You know that when you pack your final bags, when  you say your last goodbyes, when you step onto the plane, when you ascend, when you land and when you begin again, that you will feel like there is a part being ripped out of you. But you know that at the same time, there is a part of you being opened.

You’re scared of everything new, but after a while, all things that are new will be familiar. They will be comfortable. They will be home.

This will happen before you’ve realized that it’s happened.

I don’t “know” this (I am still living home with my parents and have not actually moved yet), but I know this.

My plane ticket is purchased, and every week I’m paying a deposit to an acting program that I’ll be starting in August. Every week, it’s more and more real.

I’ve hinted at it to my parents, told my friends about the acting classes I’ve been taking online and asked one of my work friends how I should approach my boss to say when I plan on leaving. But it is so hard to say it outright. It is so hard to say “I am leaving, and that is that.”

Is there a gentler way to say it?

“I love you, but I’m leaving.”

“I wish I could stay, but I have to go, and this  is why, and this is when.”

Is it kinder to give a month’s advance, or should I just tell everyone now?

Should I have told them that moment I knew?

There will be naysayers, I know, and I don’t want  to deal with their negativity. I don’t want to bring it in, but there may not be a way to avoid it.

I’ve considered tweaking my story, maybe by saying I’m taking community college classes in LA for a year to establish residency and transfer to a university. While this is something I’ve actually considered, it would suggest that I’m ashamed of my dream, my passion, my end result, and I’m not.

I’ve bought boxes of postcards to send, several already stamped. I’ve researched and I’ve fought and I’m working as many hours as I can to build on my nest egg.

I’m so ready, and at the same time it all feels like it’s happening so fast. I don’t know how or where or when to say that I’m leaving, to say goodbye.

But I know that I’m already starting to let go.

About Haley:

Haley is a 19-year-old Los Angeles girl at heart. She writes to find the joy, and also, joy to find the writing.

2 responses to “Falling From the Nest: How it Feels to Leave Home at 19

  1. This is awesome! I moved into an apartment about an hour away from home when I was 19. IT is scary, and exciting, and awesome! You will love it.


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