July 31, 2014

Why Running Away Works (Sometimes). ~ Sarah Harvey


Have you ever loved something just because it’s new?

That’s how I felt about New York City.

When I first moved to the Big Apple, it was the city’s striking newness, along with its dirtiness, its craziness, its glittering brightness that had me downright infatuated.

But, as the honeymoon stage wore off, the things I once loved become the most irritating. It started to feel like a bad relationship. I couldn’t stand the constant hum of busyness, how nothing would ever stand still. The constant motion had me nauseous.

It was never quiet and I could never be quiet. I was always on edge.

But, sometimes, being on edge is exactly what we need to push us out of our comfort zones. It can force us to become more active, more assertive.

It can transform us into a kick-ass version of ourselves.

That’s what the city did for me. But, it was time to move on again.

Some of us have this overwhelming desire for new-ness. The need to change, sometimes on a dime—to feel as wild and free as possible at all times.

For us, transitions are often less than smooth: they’re choppy. Messy. Impulsive. But sometimes that feels so damn satisfying.

Maybe we are running away, or maybe we just need to feel the exhilaration of entering a new chapter. Maybe we just need to switch it up so we can continue our story in a new way.

Yes, sometimes I run away.

No, I don’t think it’s always a bad thing.

And I’d do it again.

It’s always given me a fresh and more objective perspective.

But this time, I have moved to a placed that I used to live. So, even though I’ve run away, I have also not run away.

It’s feels as though I’ve run directly towards something.

When I lived here in this quaint country town, I was not myself yet: I didn’t have a voice, or an identity. I was a much smaller, quieter version of myself.

It’s scary to be here as a new version of myself because I am transported back in time with painful memories. Memories where I failed to stand up for myself, speak my mind, and stand my ground. Memories I thought I recovered from, but the wounds feel just as fresh and tender as they did years ago.

I am caught in a place that is both new and not new at the same time.

My challenge is this: can I enjoy that delicious influx of newness in a place where I have so many memories?

It really got me thinking: maybe to truly move forward, we have to look back. But, we have to look back in a new way.

Honestly, I’m not sure how to stand my ground as I do this. I sense the familiar blocks that I felt when I lived in this new-and-familiar place. But, I also recall the strength and badass-ness I acquired in New York City.

It’s definitely uncomfortable. How can I utilize this strange sensation of the familiar and the unfamiliar coming together in a single moment?

Perhaps, in both moving forward and backward, we also have this rare chance to merge two very different, but both equally important parts of ourselves together.

For me, I need the softness, grounded-ness, and gentleness that I experienced here in this green country wonderland to combine with the fierce, unstoppable force of a woman I became in New York City.

I am not fully either of these things, but in combining them, I can become more whole.

I have this overwhelming feeling that the strange alchemical process of combining opposing forces within us is exactly what is called for.

Maybe, in the end, we find that we were never really running away, but running towards something. Maybe all along, we were running towards ourselves.

And, maybe this time, we can be here to greet ourselves with open arms.



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 Apprentice Editor: Karissa Kneeland / Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Patrick Madden/flickr.com

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