I’m imagining myself in a big, comfortable armchair that my family has always owned. It has always been MY armchair. When I was young, this chair was like my own, big, kid-sized world – I could put a blanket over it and amuse myself for hours in my fort, imagining what kind of dangers lay outside my safe haven in the chair.

Now I’m imagining myself at age 14. We are moving. The future of the chair is uncertain – should we move it or should we dispose of it? Of course, it being my chair, I stand up for it and insist we move it to the new house. As I sit in it again, it strikes me how big I’ve gotten and how it could not represent a whole world to me anymore. The magic of the chair has been lost.

I’m still in the chair, age 23, but this time I know without a doubt that I have outgrown the chair, that the chair is too old and ragged to hang on to anymore. This time, I am clinging to the chair out of fear, while some of my friends beckon me to stand up, to join the big, scary world and leave familiarity behind. I am paralyzed by fear. As much as I know I don’t want to be stuck in this chair for the rest of my life, every attempt I make to stand up and move is agonizing and painful. I know that there will come a moment when I will simply stand up, whether I want to or not, and join the friends that have stood before me. I know that moment is inevitable, and I find that exhilerating, but I am also dreading it.

Tomorrow is my graduation recital. Although I’m not completely finished my degree after that event, there is only a short time until graduation. Then, I will be required to jump out of my comfort zone, to leave everything that has ever been familiar to me, and strike out alone on my path. I know that, in reality, I will never be alone – there will always be people to support me along the way, but these first steps away from home will be mine alone to take.