In a lot of ways I was right. I needed to go have my own adventure. I needed time to figure out who I was going to be without the influence of anyone else, good or bad. I needed to test my limits and to just be quiet for a while. I needed a blank slate.
But the problem with a blank slate is that it takes so long to fill back up again. And soon I realized that while my new relationships and surroundings were doing me a lot of good, that old slate was filled with a lot a value too. Value that was irreplaceable.
As time passed, I began to see the dirt as a majestic painted desert. Sunrises and sunsets that I never appreciated had me in awe. And my life felt so empty without the people that made it wonderfully full. Somehow the memories that once made this place so painful seemed to morph into a story of a different girl. A girl I didn't know anymore, because the real me had found her way back to the surface. Then as my grandmothers health declined, I knew I couldn't be so far away.
I was sure I would cry on the drive back to Phoenix. Sure that closing my California chapter would be sad. Instead I was shocked at how excited I was to get home and get settled back into Arizona life. If I hadn't left Arizona, I wouldn't know how much I missed it. I wouldn't have been able to see that it truly is my home.
Sure, I am going to miss year round 75 degree weather, the beach just a few miles away, the wonderful friends I made and juice shops all over the place, but I was missing too much here. Someday I'm sure I will take on another adventure- maybe to Northern California, or New York, or even Spain. Maybe not. But I think it's safe to say that Arizona will always be my home. So thanks California for giving me the strength to come home and the confidence to know I made the right decision.