A New Chapter…Well, Sort Of

It’s no secret that graduating high school and going away to college was a big change for me. I went off on my own path and was able to thrive based on the new experiences that I was having. Yet, life at home wasn’t all that much different then when I left. But it may not be that way for much longer.

My brother will be leaving for the Air Force Academy in about four days. At the beginning of August, I will move into my own apartment and soon after be starting my sophomore year of college (along with staying at school for the following summer). From that point on, my sister will pretty much be the only child in the house, albeit she is turning thirteen toward the end of September.

So yes, I’d say that it’s a pretty big change.

I’ve been up and down, back and forth, whatever you want to call it, as far as how I feel about the whole thing. When I found out that he had gotten in, I jumped for joy so much that I backed into my dresser and fell over. But since then, I’ve experienced moments where I’ve just completely broken down in tears over the whole thing; most recently when I woke up at one in the morning on the fourth of July. 

Lately I’ve been trying to convince myself that it really isn’t a big deal; in a way, he’s just going to college. Meaning, he’ll be taking classes, getting a degree, as well as wrestling. He’ll get a couple days off for thanksgiving and Christmas, and be allowed to come for home for a couple of weeks during the summertime. 

However, he’ll be gone for about sixteen years as part of his military service. While he’s there, they’re going to break him down and build him back up all over again, which seems slightly scary. He’s not going to be the same person that he was before he went in; which I guess happens to about everyone, regardless of where they go. But the truth is, he has been sort of like my twin/other half. Or at least he was until my sister came along. 

I have been through something similar to this; three years ago, I had a friend who was going to be leaving for the same reason, although it was a different branch of the Armed Forces. I supported his decision, but nonetheless I still wondered “what is life going to be like after this?” and “what in the heck am I going to do without you?” It was a tough time for me personally, as well as for our friendship. Add that my perception of God and faith sort of darkened, mostly as a result. It was actually right around this time, so I guess that’s why I’m feeling an extra-dose of sadness; even though it’s very much in the past, I still manage to recall it very well every time the month of July rolls around. 

On the other side of it all, this is what my brother has wanted to do for most of his life. I was able to go where I wanted, and now it’s his turn. 

As much as I worry about how my family will handle it, there is only so much any of us can do to prepare ourselves for what is to come. In all actuality, I don’t know what will happen or what won’t happen. Some things are meant to be learned beforehand, and others are meant to be learned along the way. 

And unlike three years ago, I’m not stuck at home trying to bide my time while my brother flies off into the wild blue yonder. I’ll be going back to school in August, and I have my own personal goals and aspirations to focus on. I can only cry for so long. 

I hope that this will be a time of moving forward in a positive way, as opposed to getting stuck in a rut and mourning over things that are, naturally, just a part of life. People have to grow up at some point. Just because you may be separated from someone doesn’t mean that you have to stop caring about them or thinking about them. 

Besides, as long as you carry that person in your heart, that’s what counts the most.

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