On Leaving

Fear is a source of energy.


Three years ago, when I left home I wrote the following note to myself: 

« This is going to be at times scary, lonely and perhaps even daunting but you’re going to make it through.»

In all honesty, in that very moment, the weeks that preceded the great departure, my nineteen-year-old self didn’t feel an ounce of fear. I was rather over the moon about this dream that was eventually coming true. Merely filled with excitement, as if nothing could get in my way. The difference, as of today, is that I do have some fears, even though they are not constant and tend to fade. Another major change is how much I have evolved thanks to my first three years as a young expatriate on my own. Before leaving for Great Britain, I considered everything so fragile and yet so important. I could not face change. I was, almost relentlessly, holding on to nostalgic feelings. Emotionally attached was my strongest defect. I could not let go. It is almost as though I was living in the past. As regards to it, the experiences I lived at the hostel and in that city where every individual seems to be continuously in motion, ready to fly far away one day or the other, changed everything for me. To let people go was a tough lesson, yet most-likely the most crucial of all. It taught me to accept change. 

This is thus an ode to blank pages, to doubts, to a clean slate, to start from scratch, all over again, to experience, to living out of the ordinary, to risks: to new chapters; and yes, to fears as well. For if you never had one fear or two, then there is nothing you truly ever conquered. 


Leaving when life is not unbearable but when it is not as passionate as it used to be anymore. Leaving with gratitude for the chapter that is about to end. For, accepting the end is the only way to move on and look forward. 

The thought of moving abroad alone never sounded daunting to me, for it seemed to be my only option, my only escape. It was probably the easiest decision of my life, although sometimes it is indeed harder. Leaving the city where I rebuilt my whole life, or shall I even say myself, from scratch was more heart-wrenching than fleeing from a place I believed had somewhat destroyed me (even though I now realize that I never would’ve followed that path if it weren’t for the journey I had previously been on. A dream of mine: this is the reason why it was so easy to follow and so hard to let go at the same time.


I wrote down some reflections about it as this epiphany occurred to me earlier this year:

[…] a dream is only a chapter of your life. It is made up of excitement but as soon as you feel entrapped in it, the end of this dream is near. The famous saying urges us to never give up on your dreams, but this doesn’t mean that we are not made of legions of dreams, some were made to get intermingled whilst others were made to be separate. As difficult as it may be, be it a result of fear or anything else, to let one dream go peacefully by being grateful for everything that it has brought us — during the making, the living, and the ending — is to honor it. To refuse the end of it and hold on to it through thick and thin, however, is to deny the part of yourself that you’ve just found.

Dreams die and we find our selves in a more authentical way in new dreams. It is not a rebirth. It merely is getting closer to being and living our very own true selves.

‘If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.”

Joel Osteen


In 2016, I enthusiastically jaunted down an idea of a program to make your dreams come true and start over: 

Understand what your heart wants. Know the possibilities. Do some research. Adjust your dreams to what appears to be reachable. Forget about all the limits. Conquer your fears. Tell only those you trust most — or wait for the moment when your endeavor will be fully prepared. Plan (however much you feel the need to — too much or not enough, that could well make a big difference). Believe in yourself. Remind yourself of that dream regularly. See it transform into a project. Believe in this dream. Be inspired by people who are living their dreams, be it similar to yours or not. Tell your loved ones that you’re about to make your dream come true. Now, that’s it, go and live your dream! 

Life may, at times or perhaps often, happen to be overpowering and soul-crushing, but there is one magical thing about it. Every single second that passes you, you get to decide whether you want to accept it or defy it. Every single day, you can choose to take your power back. You can start over, right now and open a brand-new chapter. For, in the end, you remain the only author behind your story, whatever the importance of your close ones. You are the writer.  


Etienne Daho. Le Premier Jour Du Reste De Ta Vie.

Are you ready to leave everything behind?

4 thoughts on “On Leaving

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