There are five stages of dealing with loss and grief: denial, bargaining, depression, anger and finally acceptance.
After months of denying and ignoring the decision I had to make about whether or not to leave Spain, I hit the bargaining stage. A brief stint of negotiations, looking for loopholes and trying to find a way to have my cake and eat it too did me absolutely no good. There’s no bargaining when it comes to government paperwork (at least not for the average person like me).
Right as I found myself teetering between denials and bargaining, something happened last night that brought the final three stages rushing towards me.
I bought a one-way ticket from Madrid to Miami, and I now find myself grieving the end of a beautiful chapter in my life.
It all happened almost instinctually now that I think about it. Knowing that I had to leave in August for visa and money-related reasons and knowing that two months in advanced is the perfect timing for these purchases, I nonchalantly headed to my favorite flight search engines and started looking around. I found a ticket at a good price with an airline that I liked for a flight that only had one short layover. It was perfect so I bought it almost right away. It wasn’t until I clicked on the “confirm purchase” button that I realized the finality of what I had done.
Like a strong wave at the beach that you don’t see coming, depression, anger and acceptance hit me with no warning and dragged me under the water in a swirl of overwhelming mixed emotions.
I was sad thinking of all the amazing experiences I’ve had here, the culture and lifestyle I’ve adopted and grown to love and the lifelong friends I’ve made who have impacted me more than they’ll ever know. All of these things I will have to leave behind.
I was angry thinking of how politics and bureaucracy make it so difficult for people to move freely around this world, and there is nothing I can do about it.
In the end, though, I was and still am accepting of my situation because deep down in my heart—and I’m talking so deep that I occasionally struggle to find it—I know this is the right decision for me. I’m ready to dedicate more of my time, effort and energy to my writing. I’m ready to explore different opportunities that will get my foot further in the door of the travel industry. I’m ready for new adventures in new parts of the world.
Although it pains me to write this because writing this makes everything feel even more real, I know that being ready for all of those things also means I have no choice but to be ready to leave Spain. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but it does.
So it is official. On August 9, 2015 at 9:45 a.m. CEST, I will be on a plane in Madrid bound for Miami.
I will be a hot mess of tears that day, but I will get on that plane. Something also tells me that this may be my first time experiencing something like this, but with my wanderlusting heart, it probably won’t be my last. At least next time I will be better prepared.
The scariest part of it all is leaving this place and these people I love without knowing when I will be back. If I will be back is not even a legitimate question. That much is a given, but not knowing when I will ever see these people and this country again is a difficult uncertainty to face.
I know it will take quite a while before I can fully escape this rip current of happiness, sadness, hope, fear, anger and excitement that I am now caught in. As this wave of emotions tosses me up and down, I will keep fighting through because I have to believe that this is just the beginning of something great for me. I WILL wash ashore. I WILL survive this, and I WILL be a stronger person for having done so.