• Willa Hahn

more of that growing up stuff.

This morning I left for my first big trip alone. Although I’ve had my license for a year and a half now, I’ve really only learned how to drive in the last month or so, so this was a really big, scary step for me. I’m in Scranton tonight staying with my aunt and uncle, and tomorrow I’ll make the rest of the trip up to visit Riley.

It was definitely hard leaving today—even more so than I thought it would be. I’ve always had a tough time with goodbyes, but this time it’s for the longest time I’ll have ever been away from home—almost six months. As much as I complain about Berkeley Springs, it’s still hard to leave my house and my family and (especially) my dogs behind for so long.

And it’s especially tough now, when I know that this year is going to bring such big changes. Not only am I leaving my house behind, but I’m moving into a new one in August with Riley and Jackson. I know that living on our own is going to be fun and I’m so excited, but I’ve also never felt so nervous or unprepared for anything. I mean, I just learned to drive, and now I’m getting a house—what’s next??

More than that, it’s scary to me because I don’t really know what “home” is anymore. Berkeley Springs is where I grew up. I have so many wonderful (and terrible) memories there, and in a way I think that’s what home is. But I think I’ve pretty much established that there is nothing for me in Berkeley Springs anymore. It was a great place for me to grow up, but that’s about it, and I’ve been very ready to leave for a very long time.

That being said, I also like the permanence of “home.” Now, home is sort of an unstable collection of feelings instead of something stable and permanent. Home is hanging out with my parents and my dogs and singing really loud in the middle of the night to my neighbors, but it’s also my friends and experiences and memories in Ithaca and being with Riley. It’s not really a place anymore, and it’s kind of nice, but it’s also very scary and not very reassuring. I suppose maybe that’s the awkwardness of approaching my 20s and starting to grow up.

Anyway, for now I guess I have to say goodbye to Berkeley Springs, and allow myself to enjoy whatever this year brings.

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Willa Pearl Hahn | Albany, NY | 

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