About a month ago, I was excited and relieved to finally be approaching winter break. While my first semester of college was filled with excitement, personal and academic development, and a taste of independent life, I was excited to retreat back into the comfort of my home, see my cats and dog, and reunite with my family and friends. There was only one thing weighing in on my mind: I wouldn’t be going home to Portland. At least, not home in the sense that I was familiar with. Over summer break, while I’d been working at camp, my parents had moved from my Portland neighborhood to the Phoenix East Valley in Arizona. Consequently, I was forced into splitting my time over the break between relaxing at home with my family, and seeing the city and friends I had grown to love and appreciate so dearly.
My experience over break was stressful, to say the least. A friend from high school whom I was supposed to be staying with for my duration in Portland ran into issues with hosting the day before my flight, so I spent most of break couch-surfing, unsure of where I was going to sleep each night until the day of. Making plans and seeing everyone and everything that I wanted to see was a near-impossible task, and having no readily-available access to transportation made it even harder. On the other hand, when I was at home in Arizona, boredom slowly killed me as I spent days doing nothing with no one and musing over my time in Portland and New Orleans.
Yet there are also some positive takeaways from this difficult transition. Going into my time in Portland, I was ultimately forced to figure out who and what mattered most; I prioritized the relationships that I wanted to preserve. As a result, I only spent time with people who made me feel empowered, supported and grateful and only revisited those places which made me happiest.
In an attempt to find things to do in Arizona, I left my comfort zone and began exploring the area around me. I took charge of my goals and desires for the spring semester and engaged in work out of actual interest in it, not because I needed to. Both experiences helped me learn more about myself and forced me to narrow my priorities down to what really mattered. I know that my situation isn’t ideal, but I’ve undergone quite a bit of growth from it. Just in this way, some of our most unfortunate turns in life can lead to some useful benefits in the long run. The glass can always be half full.
COVER PHOTO: The Evolllution