Life Away From “Home”

People always complain about their hometown’s issues. When these conversations crop up, I have always competed for the title of Worst Hometown, due to the lack of anything exciting happening, high crime rates, the unavailability of jobs, and some of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. I didn’t care that my family has held ties there for nearly 100 years, that three generations of my family live there, or that the sun shines a good percentage of the days of the year. All that I knew was that I needed to get out, to see the world, and know that there was more to living than what our community offered.

I moved 300 miles away and went to college in Southern California, then, I moved to Davis and got my teaching credential there. I would visit home every month or two, and made sure to show up for major family gatherings. This year I needed to move away from where I’d been. I needed space and time to think about who I am and what career I want to pursue. I needed to finish processing the end of a relationship from the previous year, and I needed to be able to tell myself that I could make it on my own. I’m currently over 800 miles away from the place I grew up, and while the distance has allowed me to think as much as I want/need, something odd has happened. My desire to live in a land far, far away from the place I call home disappeared.

I think the catalyst for this and in the last two months was when my brother and sister-in-law announced that they were expecting. It intensified when they moved into my parents’ house while waiting for paperwork to go through for their new house, and it got even stronger last week when they moved into the new house and painted it to suit their personalities. For the first time since I graduated high school, I actually want to move back home.

Before this move out-of-state, I thought that moving back home meant giving up. It was a last resort and the equivalent of admitting defeat. Somehow, learning that I am going to be an aunt, and admitting that I’ll probably be going back to graduate school in the next 2-3 years changed that perspective. I’m currently looking at the possibility of moving back home for a few months to be there with and for my family in a way that I haven’t been in years. After spreading the mantra, “If you can get out, do it”, I’m actually thinking about going back.  Back to family meals and wagging tails, to evening walks in the neighborhood and a cat who sleeps on my bed. Back to a few friends who have stuck around, and the geographic location that allows for day trips to Yosemite, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Davis, Monterey, and several other beautiful destinations.

Am I crazy for wanting to move back? Is it giving up, or is my desire to be with my family a sign of me growing up? I don’t know, but I’m interested to see if I’ll actually end up back there in a few months, or if my time there will only be a brief sojourn.

I could go home to this adorable face