I had somewhat of a mini-breakthrough today. For months, I’ve been subconsciously afraid of leaving the country, living on my own and stepping into the full-blown adult life. It’s a fear I’ve been trying to ignore, or minimise, yet it’s nearly always at the back of my mind. I mean, it’s going to be my first time away from home, all alone, when I go to university in a few months. I don’t know how to be financially responsible yet, I don’t know how to choose the best vegetables at the store, I don’t know how to deal with legal and immigration processes, I don’t know how to find houses and heck, I don’t even know how to cook that well.

So, really, I’m voluntarily throwing myself into this whole new life without really having the skills for it. I’ll be 21 really soon, and so far, I’ve had my parents’ support to get me by. Now I’m realising that in Amsterdam, I won’t have them to run to every time things go wrong. Of course, they’ll always do their best to help me, but in a whole new country, it’s all up to me.

It’s really terrifying, if I’m being honest. I mean, what if my cycle gets stolen? What if I’m mugged? What if I don’t find student accommodation? What the hell, what if I starve because I have the cooking skills of a tortoise? The list of fears is endless. But as I realised today, so is the list of possibilities.

You see, I learnt today (through the really mundane process of me getting my first dose of the COVID vaccine) that despite being afraid of all of these things, I’m deeply excited. I thrive in new environments, I know how to turn my charm on and off, I’m a fast learner and I love to learn through mistakes. And isn’t that what I’m giving myself the opportunity to do? Move to a new country, fuck up, learn, grow and thrive?

I like being alone. I like interesting and new people (as much of an introvert as I am). I like challenge. In fact, I prefer challenge.

Independence is scary, of course. But it’s exhilarating. And I am absolutely ready for it.

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