In summer of 2016, I made a pretty rash decision.
Since the past few semesters, I’ve been doing school online on-and-off. No longer having to be tied down to the physical university, and when my lease on my apartment rolled to an end, I decided to leave my current residence in Kennesaw, and “shake things up” a bit.
The contrast couldn’t have been more distinct. I ended up packing my things and heading down to the other side of the Atlantan suburbs – Decatur, to be more specific.
While the desire to be closer to my friend and some acquaintances was among the top reasons for my relocation, along with essentially halving the rent of my previous living, I can honestly say I didn’t know what else to expect.
Moving into a shared home with some people I had casually known for a quick minute, I was the only resident there who was not either previously enrolled, or currently enrolled at Emory University. For a bit of context, Emory University was, for a few years, my dream school. Senior year of high school brought circumstances that would see me end up not even applying, and it was always a bit of a sore spot for me.
While I knew of the incredible talent, diversity, and intelligence that Emory drew, I never quite expected to be educated the way I was by my housemates.
To me, education can come in many shapes and forms, but in the general vein of this blog – their passion is what taught me more than anything else.
Whether it was studying film, articulating theology, preaching political science, or astute industry blogging – I cannot even begin to cover the variety of interests I came across in the past 12 months, or how fervently my housemates pursued them. It was inspiring, to say the least.
When I was living in Kennesaw prior, I had several quality friends – but not really a strong support community, nor one that actively engaged me on this level.
It didn’t matter if I was coming home from work at 1am on a Tuesday night, returning from grocery shopping, or on my way out for the day – I could always count that my housemates would be doing something, and more-so something unique and interesting.
To be honest, when you’re exposed to this level of passion and enthusiasm, it’s hard to not have it be absolutely contagious. It was.
In the past year, I’ve watched more new movies I’d never even heard of or thought about watching than ever. I’ve been introduced to meticulous international policies that I hadn’t previously considered from a certain angle. I’ve widened and broadened my horizons, and in no-small part due to the fantastic home community that my housemates were able to create.
But most importantly – I was shown so, so much love by these uniquely jovial and grand individuals.
Having been used to moving a lot as a kid, it was always a rush to get as many friends as I could, in hope of fitting in – often incorrectly placing quantity over quality. That didn’t happen in my house in Decatur.
Instead, I was embraced in open arms and invited into the extravagant world of these people whom I’m now lucky enough to call my dear friends.
I’ll be honest, the house just wasn’t a good house from an amenity and physical aspect. Built sometime in the 70s, with a kitchen that retains all the heat and moisture, and a slew of other faults, it was likely the worst physical place I’ve ever lived. I dislike Decatur for some reasons, mostly the congestion. It feels like you can’t move, and you’re always in somebody’s bubble. Driving 3 miles could take 30 minutes during peak traffic times, and when I-85 collapsed – my work commute almost doubled. While the list could go on and on, it may end up undermining the point: the house itself left a lot to be desired, but the community in the house made this one of the most joyful and rewarding times of my life.
Extremely worth it, if you ask me.
Whether it was finding a solution to solving the rat problem when I first moved in, participating in an outdoors Oscar’s party with a projector and giant makeshift screen, having cooking parties, or fostering a kindly rambunctious dog – I can genuinely say that the experiences we all shared together will remain with me for as long as I live. I feel a little guilty at times knowing just how wonderful these individuals have been to me, and their constant unwavering support and generosity.
Now as I wind down my last weekend residing in Decatur, I’m overwhelmed with emotion – emotion I haven’t felt in so very long.
As expected, these people are all going on to do great things. From going to top a ranked film school, a prestigious graduate program, or tirelessly pursuing their passions headfirst along with their careers; I could not be more proud of them. While bad things can always happen to good people, (and I assure you – my housemates have been through it all at one time or another, taking it in stride), it’s overjoying to see them be rewarded with the fruits of their labour.
I wasn’t too certain what I was getting into for the past cycle around the sun. Looking for an escape, and refuge from the mundane – I was gifted a time of individuality and unrelenting support. People who inspired me to go above and beyond, and encouraged me to be true to my heart and myself. You can’t put a price on that.
At first, I would have considered these folks pretty good acquaintances – as I write this in my final few days of living here, I hope I’ll be blessed enough to be friends with these astounding people for a lifetime.
Thank you all for the lessons you taught me, the heartaches we shared, and the well deserved celebrations. The calm, and the chaos. I cherish every single moment.
The next chapter of my life will see me moving out of the city of Decatur, but I feel like part of me will always be there – sitting on a deck on a warm summer night, stars glistening, beers cracking, a bonfire roaring, and sharing jubilant smiles.
Thank you for giving me a reason to smile again..
I wish each and every single one of you nothing but the best in your next stages of this life. May your cup never run empty, and may your hearts always be full. Let your passions fearlessly guide you, and allow them to become the foundations of your success. Do great things.