The Next Big Adventure

This past weekend, I set off on what could surely be the biggest adventure of my life: moving away from home.

Actually, I don’t like those words… “moving away from home.” Anywhere you live can be home, and I hope that the new place I’ve just moved into will be home — a place where I can feel comfortable, warm, safe, and happy.

More appropriately speaking, I set off on what should be the biggest adventure of my life so far: moving out on my own, away from my parents.

Up until now, I’ve lived my entire life with a member of my family. My mother, father and sister lived together (and myself, of course) for the first near-15 years of my life in house #1. Then it was my mom, sister and I in house #2…. then mom and I in house #3, and house #4.

Now, it’s me, in #5, moving in with my fiancé. It’s both of our first times really living on our own, so it’s quite an adventure. It’s scary and exciting, nerve-wracking and absolutely terrifying, joyous and optimistic and positive. I’ve felt so many emotions leading up to this, and now that it’s real, I’ve hit that moment of “Whoa…. that actually happened.”

It’s been three days. It doesn’t feel real sometimes.

One thing I’ve been wanting to write about lately is this.

In my life up until this point, I’ve lived in four different places.

All in Buffalo, and all within a 1.1 mile radius.

Also within that radius: my elementary school (now closed); the Catholic Church I attended for a good portion of my life (also closed); the pizzeria we always went to, owned by some of the friendliest guys, who knew us by name and never failed to have a smile on their face. I know the square blocks where I used to do walkathons as a kid in elementary school; the other pizzeria where I worked my “first job” for about three days. The storefront that always used to hold a seasonal Niagara Chocolates store, but is now vacant 365 days a year.

That small radius – which would have been narrowed down even further, to .59 miles if house #3 wasn’t in there – also contains a lot of memories for me. From elementary school memories of computer class and trekking over to the nearby community gym for physical education (weather permitting, of course) to that time a tenant who lived above us in house #2 had a prairie dog as a pet; from the days when we had to leave house #1, to the trick-or-treating nights, Halloween parades and more…. I’ve lived so much of my life in that area.

It’s not like I’m moving across the country; I’m not. I’m still in Buffalo, about six miles outside of that radius now. Instead of living on the east side of the city, I live on the north side. My commute into work comes from a completely new direction. I’ve got the beauty of things like Delaware Park and Forest Lawn Cemetery nearby; I’m surrounded by art museums, hip restaurants and a great local music scene.

I get all of that, plus the independence and adulthood that come with this new adventure. Of course, that includes a lot more responsibility, too – but it’s not overwhelming, at least not yet. I’ve spent the last few days unpacking and decorating. I cooked my first real dinner last night, and we’re still alive and well this morning, so clearly I did alright. I have my own keys, to my own apartment, mailbox and storage area. I’m building (or at least trying) my own life, one small piece at a time.

It’s a big adventure. I know it won’t always be easy, but I’m going to enjoy it as best I can.

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