We are the generation that goes home again. It’s happened to many of us; after college we go back home while we search for the perfect job, the perfect haircut, or ourselves, but before we come home again we must first leave.
In the search for independence we leave home, either when we move to a dorm or apartment in our hometown or another state to get “the college experience,” or maybe even leaving the country for a semester abroad. No matter how far we move or travel we learn to adjust without mom’s cooking and taking care of ourselves, but somehow it always seems temporary.
When I moved back home after college I thought it would be temporary. Then six months turned into a year, and suddenly it was almost two years until I found full-time job that wanted to use the degree I was paying off every month. Unlike most of the jobs I applied for, this one was in another city. It’s not actually that far away, but it required leaving the free rent of my parent’s house and re-acclimating myself to taking care of myself and my finances.
I am a fairly independent woman. I know what I don’t like and what I want out of an apartment, but I was still wary and worried about moving. Much like when the sales clerk tell us the shoes you are about to buy are an additional 30% off, it felt too real, too easy after months and months of searching. Plus there was the aspect of actually leaving my city.
I adjusted to my college town fairly quickly. I had some family in town and had been visiting and driving the roads my whole life, but this time was different. My college town was more than two hours away from home as opposed to the hour my new home would be. When everyone asked me why it felt different I didn’t know what to say, but then I realized the big differentiator: my nephew. When he was born I lived a couple hours away and since then I’ve never gone more than two weeks without seeing him. He knows my voice when I call my sister, and since moving home I frequently helped my sister (and myself) out and pick him up from daycare.
As much as I love him, and I do more than I could have imagined, he was just another excuse. This could be the moment I spout a platitude about change being inevitable, and maybe that is true for the small changes, but big moments don’t blindside us as often as it appears in movies, and when they do we are much more equipped to handle them than we think. Some things change, people change, and sometimes it’s an adventure and sometimes it’s a nightmare, but I’m adjusting, and the scary parts are mostly over with.
I’ve always been the kind of person to refer to “home” as where I am currently living. For someone so concerned with words, I never gave any kind of special significance to it. In college it became difficult to refer to “mom and dad’s house,” “my apartment,” “my old apartment,” “Beth’s parents’ house.” For me my home is wherever I am, so even when I leave I’m never gone. I’m very lucky. I have family in town (it’s Alabama so I probably have family in every town), and some amazing friendships from college which seem able to exist past the whirl of college life into the mundane of 8-5 work life. I have found an amazing apartment in an adorable part of town less than 10 minutes from work.
Leaving home has been hard. A week into my new adventure I know now that I’ll always make time for the important people in my life. I may l not be used to not seeing my sister a couple times a week or walking into the next room to talk to my dad, and I’ll likely never get used to not seeing my nephew, but this place is new and exciting. It’s different in the best kind of way. It’s mine and I think I will be happy here, after all I’m home now.