“I’ve never been a fan of change / But I’d follow you to any place” — Harry Styles, “Late Night Talking”
After months of fruitless searching, my fiancé and I found a place to live. Just in time, I might add, as our married life commences in just two weeks.
We were lucky to come across the listing for the rental on Zillow when we did. I actually have to credit my dad for spotting it in the first place. After a whirlwind twelve hours of visiting the property, filling out an application and answering a phone call, Jake and I now have space to call our own—for the next twelve months and then month-to-month after, that is.
Visiting the unit felt strange to me, although I’m perfectly happy with it. I think part of me doubted the process would actually work out and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. As we admired the spacious kitchen, glanced inside the closets and walked across the back deck, I felt like a stranger in someone else’s home.
But now the home will be ours to make, and I’m still wrapping my brain around that. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around a lot of things these days. In the midst of finalizing all the last-minute details of our wedding, the reality of this significant life event has finally started to sink in. Not only will the newness of marriage be significant in and of itself, but relocating to a new area and sharing a place with Jake will be a big change as well. It’s a joyful time, but it’s still a lot to take in.
I know I’m far from the first person to experience these transitions, but I feel like the complex emotions that accompany this stage of life aren’t widely talked about. Or perhaps social media has skewed my perception with the constant bombardment of happy highlight reels. That’s why I was surprised to see a young bride-to-be crying on my TikTok feed recently. She was a few weeks away from her wedding, and the thought of moving away from her family and closing that chapter in her life brought on some heartache.
Again, I don’t want to downplay my excitement for getting to marry the man I love and start building a life together. But I think there is value in normalizing the grief that comes even with happy transitions. The past eleven months have been some of the happiest and hardest of my life for a multitude of reasons, and a lot of those reasons relate to change. Just because an amazing opportunity arises doesn’t mean it’s automatically easy to let go of what once was. Change is difficult, even if it’s for the better.
Ultimately, though, I’m grateful to be experiencing this with someone who understands my feelings and shares them with me. We have each other, and that brings me peace in the midst of this hectic time. We won’t have all the answers and we won’t always get it right. But I’m still eager to begin this new chapter, even if it takes a little courage to start.
Kayleigh (Fongers) Van Wyk (’18) graduated with a degree in writing and resides in West Michigan. She works as a reporter for the Grand Rapids Business Journal and Grand Rapids Magazine while also making time for freelance writing. When she’s not behind a screen, she enjoys going for walks, eating ice cream, and buying more books than she’ll ever read.