There are a lot of "firsts", "lasts" and "onlys" over the course of our lives. As I pack up eight years of my Seattle life in brown boxes, I find that it's hard to pack up eight years of memories. With every tape rip, my heart breaks a little as I realize that over the next week and a half more "lasts" will occur than "firsts," and dinner and coffee dates are more "good-byes" than just conversation and food.  I've tried to convince myself that we'll be back after I graduate grad school, but it will never be the same again, and it's so hard for me to accept. I often wonder why it's so tempting for me to feel so sorry for myself--I've been given this huge opportunity to further my education and career. I've been gifted a chance to change the course of my future--for me and my family. Yet, I'm crying in my coffee, because I'm going to leave a city that has become my home and that I've grown to love. Time seems to be more against me as I try to drink in all this city has to offer, and as I look at the city through new eyes, I truly see  the beauty it has to offer, and for me, that's a first. I have spent time complaining about the weather, traffic and what I think is a horrific number of Prius drivers, but the reality is that every little thing about Seattle is what makes it so great, and I'm really going to miss it.
As I begin the end of my time in Seattle, I've realized that with every opportunity we are blessed with, we need to run with it and trust ourselves that we've made the right decision. Yes, we will have to say good-bye to people and places we love, and yes, we'll have a little part of who we are be left behind, but we need to be thankful for what we're given. More thankful than we are. We spend so much time wishing things were different or that our lives were going somewhere other than where we are, but we're given a chance to live and a chance to make our own choices, so we need to embrace it all, and learn to see every opportunity as a blessing rather than a wrench in our lives. So I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you. Thank you tomorrow for promising to come. Thank you grad school for giving me an opportunity to change my life. Thank you Seattle friends for giving me eight years of memories to pack. Thank you Seattle for teaching me how to grow up. Thank you moving boxes for making my life easier to move. Thank you tears for reminding me of memories that will move with me no matter where life takes me. It's been a great run, but here's to another city to conquer, love and grow.

Love, Jyl

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