On Living In My Hometown

Thursday, October 25, 2018

As you may or may not already know, depending on whether you follow me on Instagram or read my Sunday Shares a few weeks back, I recently moved into a new apartment. What I haven't mentioned specifically is that it's back in my hometown.

I've never been far from my parents' place. Everywhere I've lived has been in the same general area. Now I'm in the actual town I grew up in, though, and I've gotten mixed reactions to this. Sometimes it's along the lines of, "That must be so nice to be near your family" (which it is), and others it's a slight change to their expression where I can tell they think it's kind of weird.

In TV and movies, the person who lives close to home is usually the deadbeat. They never amounted to anything and so they never left their shitty old town. I think the perception that moving across the country is "making it" in life while not doing that is failing needs to end.

I'm not stuck here. I'm just here.

I can admit, parts of it are weird, yes. I drive past my high school on my way to work now. The nearest mall is the same one I used to hang out at as a middle schooler. One of my friends from elementary school actually used to live in the apartment complex I'm in now. This is an area I've known for so long.

When talking to my friend who moved solo from Illinois to Colorado (more on that here!) about my new place, I asked her what she thought about it all. After all, she's one of those people who's moved halfway across the country, and I admire her for that. I wanted to get her perspective on the opposite end. (And maybe I was secretly searching for validity in my life choices, as if they have anything to do with anyone else but me.) She simply said, "It means you like where you're from and that's a good thing."

And yeah, she's right. I do like where I'm from. I like this town. I love where we're at, the physical location of this place. I'm close to my workplace, my gym, two malls, a bunch of restaurants. I easily pass both a Starbucks and a Dunkin Donuts during my drive in the mornings (priorities). There's plenty to do nearby and actually in my town (unlike my old apartment). It's near bike paths and parks and movie theaters.

I'm supposed to dislike this place just because it's where I grew up? That doesn't make sense.

Everyone's living their life their own way. Some people move, some people stay. As long as you're happy where you are.

Ultimately, I think a lot of my feelings about this all boil down to a post I came across from Brianna Wiest:
The truth is that living your best life is existing simply, and without the fear that you are not doing enough, and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something or capitalize on your pain. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that a hectic, complicated life is a good one. Do not fall into believing that your joy is on the other side of one more purchase, milestone, relationship or item of clothing. Things will not change your life, they will not make you whole. They cannot fill the gaps within you that were left open by loss, and fear, and your true desire to just enjoy your lunch and appreciate the sunset and maybe spend time with someone you love. Maybe your greatest ambition shouldn't be how much you can acquire, but how deeply you can be grateful for what you have."
Existing simply.
Without the fear that I'm not doing enough.
A hectic, complicated life is not a good one.
Things will not make me whole. They won't fill the gaps.

After such a weirdly difficult year or so, it feels especially comforting being close to home. We've been in our new place for about a month and I feel so happy. I'm breathing easier. I'm lighter. Plus, leaving my parents' house and having only a 15 minute drive home rather than 35 feels so much better.

I didn't realize it at first but this is what I need right now. It's filling the gaps.

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