Young woman leaves regrets behind

It’s all the things I want to pack in her suitcase and boxes.

We gathered this weekend to celebrate my friend’s daughter.

She’s a special one who I have watched grow up.

She’s gone from a shy teenager not ready to go too far away from home for college to a young woman packing things up and heading to a city more than 1,000 miles away for the express reason it is 1,000 miles away.

And so, there are boxes and suitcases.

When I think of all the things that need to go in them I’m not talking clothes or scrapbooks or dishes or furniture.

She’s ordered her first winter coat off of ebay.

She found a screaming deal on a used couch on Facebook marketplace.

Beyond material things, I’m hoping she brings along compassion.

Compassion for herself on those hard days when things go wrong.

I’m hoping she brings along patience.

It takes a moment to get set up in a new town.

To find a dentist, a hair person, great girlfriends.

I’m hoping she brings a way to capture memories, even if it means simply being present and remembering scenes, smells and sound all around her.

There is so much that’s not yet known about this adventure, except one.

It’s not going to be perfect.

That, I can promise her.



This journey is already a success.

She’s done the hard part.

The part 99% of the world doesn’t do.

She’s shown up.

Gone for her dreams.

It took her almost a year to find the right job in the right city and connect with the right roommates.

She never gave up, despite the job interviews that didn’t push her through to the next round, despite the perfectly fine life with a decent job and decent friends in her hometown.

Something stirred in her soul telling her she needed to go.

No matter how fabulous or disastrous this turns out to be, there is one thing she’ll have the rest of her life.

She gets to leave “What if?” behind in her rearview mirror.

Does this speak to you, Dear Reader?

What was the thing you went for, that ended up messy?

I’m also thinking of you who has carried that “What if” with you for decades.

You know it’s not too late.

Sure, you might not be a 20-something free of ties and financial obligation to just pick up and move to a whole other part of the country, climate, culture.

But there are ways.

It’s time.

Time to pack your things.

Time to exchange the “What if?” for “What now?”

Oh, the places you’ll go.

Daryn Kagan is the author of the book “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.” Email her at