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An Open Letter to my Childhood


Well, it’s been about a year since we parted. I miss you every day, but I also know I had to let go of you to become who I’m meant to be. You were comfortable, familiar and safe. Now, life is unpredictable, and honestly terrifying, but it’s exciting.

From the moment I stepped out of the house, to the moment I stepped into my dorm, I was in the middle ground, an ageless purgatory. During that five-hour drive, I could feel you slipping from me and my new life settling in. It was strange, but it felt right.

I have to tell you; freshman year has been amazing. Of course, those first few weeks were petrifying, because I had to learn to accept you were gone. They were also lonely. So very lonely. I left behind all the people you brought me during those 18 years and found myself stranded in a sea of 2,687,682 strangers. But I want you to know some of those strangers have become my best friends and others, great mentors.

I understand now I had to leave behind the people you brought me to meet the ones adulthood had planned for me. While I’ll cherish those who were with me from the start, I really do think you would like the new additions.  

I want you to know that I miss you. I really do. I miss the days at age four when everything was magical, and the world was my playground. I miss the summer nights that felt endless as I ran down the street with my best friends at age seven. I miss those Friday nights at age 13 when I was finally old enough to go to movies without a parent. Believe it or not, I even miss the dreadful panic-inducing night before I took the SAT at age 16 knowing that my future depended on it.

It’s funny because, at the time, it seemed like that was as hard as life got. Well, I’m here to tell you that I was very wrong. Over the past year, I’ve had to deal with so many new obstacles. I overcame long-held anxieties. Yes, I did it, I finally managed to interview strangers for stories, which was something you held me back from. I had my first real heartbreak, and it’s still pretty fresh, but something about being open and honest is empowering, and that was something you never let me do.

Most importantly, I learned how to live on my own. I realized the importance of having to be your own best friend in this vast world, because if you can’t be there for you, you can’t expect someone else to be. You always made me feel like being physically alone meant I was. I’ve come to learn being physically alone just means you get to know yourself. The company of people is meant to enhance your life, not define it.  

You brought me so many laughs, good times, and memories, ones I’ll never forget. But you were a stop on the road and not the destination; I see that now. They tell you to never grow up, but if I’m being honest, I like it here. It’s exciting and thrilling and freeing. It’s things you never were, yet somehow still so many of the same.

I wish I could go back and tell you that I was going to be okay; To tell you, that the seed you planted is finally starting to bloom. You gave me my roots, and without you I wouldn’t be the flower I am today, but I’m hoping one day I can be a garden

Kaci Watt

Columbia Chicago '21

Hey I'm Kaci! I'm a sophomore journalism major and public relations minor who loves shopping, watching youtube, and writing!
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