Today was my last day in Roswell. We had our traditional red chile burrito from Martin’s Capital Cafe, and I walked up and down the bike trail—with Makai, with my mom, and then alone for a jog—as a farewell to home (whilst conveniently enjoying 70 degree weather before returning to the winter vortex that is currently New England).

I’m not very good at goodbyes. I’ve come to prefer the Irish goodbye, quietly sneaking out the door when no one is paying attention. But when that’s not possible, I make sure I am only thinking of the present moment instead of the “This is the last time I’ll do this, or see this, or hug this person,” because anyone who knows me knows I’m a weeper, and it’s better for all of us if I’m not crying.

This time around, however, the dogs have gotten to me. Makai, whom you might remember from Thanksgiving, has made it clear that she is aware I am leaving. She’s followed me around all day, we played in the backyard, and then tonight I walked into my room and saw this:

Makai always sleeps in my parents’ room
Makai always sleeps in my parents’ room

She even let me hug and pet her without putting my hand in her mouth or licking my face, which means she’s really depressed. Thus, the reality of leaving hit me. 

My friend Sarah and I have commiserated about how it gets harder and harder to leave home when we visit. It’s not the town or the home itself, although our rooms are exactly how we left them (exception: a new bedspread) which causes us to slip right back into our teenage selves the moment we return. But more importantly, it’s the goodbye to our families, knowing that it’s going to be months, maybe even a year, until we see them again—that’s what gets harder as we get older.  

And here we are also at the end of a year. I get sentimental about saying goodbye to 2017, too, because this journey around the sun has been one of the best, if not the best, that I can remember. I have 362 reasons that are documented now, but that’s only the surface. The personal and spiritual journey I’ve been on has been just as rewarding as the physical one, and I feel as though I’ve done what I didn’t know I set out to do.

I’ve finally come home.

(here’s a medley of Makai)