Ignore the "I'll do it later."
Life, and especially my life, is a long sequence of "I'll do it later"s. Little things like the dishes, paying rent before midnight, homework, grading, brushing my teeth. But also big things, like seeing that art exhibit and going skiing with my dad and traveling to this or that country and spending time with a friend. "I'll do it later" is the chief culprit of any regrets I have when I move. Because "I'll do it later" turns into "I wish I'd done it." I wish I'd seen Alfons Mucha's Slav Epic. I wish I'd gone to Paris to get a tattoo from Xoil, I wish I'd used my entire ski pass, I wish I'd put the effort into seeing that friend. Oh and my favorite - I wish the timing had been different. The "I'll do it later" is the boogie man of my life, and I am constantly fighting him, and constantly losing. But putting a deadline on things, knowing that there might not be a later to do it, has proven helpful. I'll travel to Cesky Krumlov later turns into I'll go tomorrow. I'll see that friend turns into let's hang out. It's a constant battle, reminding myself that I'll do it later isn't a good time to do it at all. Because in the last two weeks or two days or two hours before you go, suddenly there's no time for later, and you have to choose your priorities. Which leads me to...
Not always. In fact, not in most things. But you need to set your own priorities, and say fuck all to anyone trying to set them for you. I have found that my number one priority is friends and family, that people are more important that buildings, relationships more important than ticket stubs. I had to go to the other end of the world to find that out, though. And the whole time I was hearing "Stay!" from my mother and "Don't go!" from my roommate and "God, I am going to miss you" from my best friend. Not because they wanted to keep me from anything I wanted, but because they, too, were being selfish. Not meanly, not negatively, but they made me a priority, and then expressed that. A better heading for this would be "find what you want. Chase it. Or at the very least, annoy it until it comes to you." Not that you guys have been annoying me. And again, we segue into...
If they actually love you, they will continue to love you over Skype and Facebook
Don't read this the wrong way - long distance relationships are messy and unhappy with very few exceptions. They need a light at the end of the tunnel, because without that you're just running toward a train. I mean friendships and family and in some cases that one special person. Leaving really clarifies who matters, and coming back does the same thing. The people who make an effort to talk to you while you're gone are worth more than their weight in gold. Or Apple Stock, I don't know. The people who will always have time for you no matter the time difference, and the relationships that don't change no matter how long you've been gone, and the sensation of sitting at a bar a year later and still loving (platonically or otherwise) the person sitting next to you - those are what matter. But I'm being selfish, and these things are my priorities.
Try new shit
My funniest stories come from the time I tried new things - that one time I drank wine and ate blood sausage with a bunch of Austrians my parents' age, that one time my Czech boyfriend talked me into spending a day meditating, that one time I got handcuffed to a bar, that one time, that one time, that one time. Routines are comfortable. But nothing interesting happens in a routine.
Intention is nothing, interpretation is everything.People are going to say things you don't want to hear. You'll say things they take the wrong way. Shit, in a word, fails. Things go wrong, and it is much easier to stop attributing that to malice and start attributing it to miscommunication. Beyond that, events out of our control can ruin almost anything. But how you look at it makes all the difference in how long you sulk and carry the hurt. There's a 50 pound luggage limit - bring as little resentment with you as possible.
Do it. Even if you come back, going is such a great foil for everything you're worrying about. No matter what you're running from or running to, the only thing you can never get rid of is yourself. You have to deal with you no matter where you go, and while it can be agonizing, the clarity you get a little closer to is wonderful. When you feign self-love, it comes off as arrogant. When you fucking earn that shit, it comes off as confidence. And no one - no one - is going to love you until you do.
Oh wow, this is sooooo getting deleted in the morning.