Dear Duluth,

29 May

For the last four years, Duluth has been my home. This weekend, I set off for a new adventure with a move to the Twin Cities. In all honesty, I am more bummed about leaving Duluth, and think I will miss the town itself as my “home”, more than I will Virginia. Which is weird, considering that I lived in Virginia for 18 years, and Duluth for 4. But while I have done the majority of the physical growth in my life up on the range, I’ve definitely grown more emotionally in these last four years than I think I have in my entire life.

For example.

In Duluth, I learned what independence felt like. I spent homesick nights in Somers Suite 272 crying myself to sleep during the first few weeks of college, and felt just as depressed about leaving that dorm and my new little “family” of roomies at the end of the year. I learned how to grocery shop– wait, I still don’t know how to grocery shop. Okay, I ATTEMPTED to grocery shop, and learned that living off of Captain Crunch and Chef Boyardee isn’t quite as great as it sounds. I learned how to coexist with people that I couldn’t just yell at and expect to still love me like my family members, and I learned how to share one shower between four girls who all need to get to class in the morning.

In Duluth, I learned that moving an hour away from your boyfriend isn’t actually going to kill you, and that it just might give you some clarity about the relationship. I experienced the pain of assault, and the victory of winning a court case. I learned that being single is pretty awesome, especially when your roommate is willing to share boyfriend cuddles with you. Because what else are those darn men good for anyway?

In Duluth, I learned how to make friends, and how to gracefully let friends go. I found that independence is more than just living away from your parents, but actually being self-sufficient physically and emotionally. I discovered medications that could solve my problems, and I learned how to cope when the problems proved to go deeper than a 20mg pill. I learned how to disguise myself and hide my past, and I learned just how strong of a support system could be gained from opening up. I learned how to drink, and I learned how to sober up when the drinking tried to kill me.

In Duluth, I learned how to dress business casual, and how to make slightly less awkward conversation at networking events. I discovered how much fun it is to be an aunt, and even picked up some mothering skills along the way (well, for my dog at least!). I learned how to rack up thousands of dollars in debt over a couple of months, and how to make a budget to pay that debt off (slowly). I learned that professional doesn’t have to equal boring, and that being responsible and mature can still be fun.

My experience in Duluth over the last four years has taught me so much, looking back now as I am about to start a full-time gig at Land O’Lakes, to where I was at as a fresh high school graduate. Sure there were ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade any of the bad experiences for anything. Without them, the good ones would not have been half as meaningful. I am extremely excited for the next chapter in my life, but will undoubtedly miss my college years– after all, weren’t they supposed to be the best of my life?! Pshh! Every day the future looks brighter, so while those days were good, I won’t settle for the notion that my “glory days” have already come and gone.

Thank you to everyone who has shaped me into who I am today, those who have supported me and hey– even those who have been the jerks that gave me learning experiences. Thanks to all my fellow students, my professors, my roommates and friends, and of course most of all my family members. Mom and Dad, I know that the last four years weren’t spent under your roof, but just because I learned all this living in Duluth does not mean that your influence didn’t stretch over me from the range. Thanks everyone who continues to read this every time I post and gives me feedback, I hope this wasn’t too boring, but I will try to keep things updated more and make it more exciting, even if my life becomes adult-ish and lame. Wish me luck on my big move this weekend, the transition process, and settling in. Love you all! :)

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2 Responses to “Dear Duluth,”

  1. Dad May 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Awesome post Laura. I hope your mom’s and my influence continue to act as guides as you more fully become the woman you have always been meant to be. These seven paragraphs represent honest self-evaluation; a prerequisite to growth and maturity, Your words have the ability to heal, but also to teach others. I trust the foundation you have in your faith will serve as an anchor in the occasional turbulence your face. You and your sister are both awesome and strong women, but just remember, despite all that strength, resilience, and perseverance, you are both still my little girls. I remain but a phone call away. Love 24/7/365, Dad.

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