I graduated from college a few weeks ago. BAM. That’s it. I’m done with school (for now). #TG
I’ve been ready to leave Seattle U for about a year or so. I gained a lot from my time there, but toward the end, I felt socially smothered and ready to move on. I originally planned on moving to California in August. I was going to pack my bags and do a year of service in NorCal. I had just come to the decision mentally when something in me switched. I went from craving a drastic change of pace to craving familiarity, my childhood, something known.
So I put my plans for departure on pause. I decided that I was going to stay. But I knew I didn’t want to stay in the same apartment or neighborhood, fearing it would feel like I never left SU after all. After a month or so, I decided I wanted to move home, which is really only 25 minutes out of the city, but really feels like a night and day difference.
My mom sold my childhood home over a year ago, so moving home started to mean moving back to my hometown, but out on my own. What college friends wanted to move to the suburbs instead of the city? What twenty-something wants to leave the urban life for a quiet, family-oriented lifestyle? Trick question: none. Well… except me.
I feel like college took so much out of me emotionally and intellectually that there’s nothing that sounded better than moving back to the familiar, to the community that reminded me what life was like before university, to my roots.
So after doing some research, I signed a lease to move into a new apartment. When it was first being built a few years back, my family complained about it constantly. “Everything is becoming so developed.” “It won’t fit with our small town feel.” “It’s not going to blend in whatsoever.”
I don’t disagree, yet here I am. Giving my money to the corporate overlord consuming my cute hometown.
The truth is it’s a lovely place, especially compared to my old apartment in the city. Seattle landlords can get away with charging exorbitant prices for rundown, poorly maintained buildings. My last place pales in comparison to my new home base. AND now I have a dog to consider. That’s right – if you haven’t seen the endless photos on my Instagram already, I got a puppy (see endearing photo above)! His name is Ziggy and he’s wonderful and rowdy and adorable. I knew with this addition to my family, I would need enough room for both him and I. My new place is pretty small, but it fits us both comfortably.
So here I am, settling into my place with Ziggy, spending my days job hunting, and trying to find the familiarity of my childhood.
Although many things are still the same four years later, I can feel a distinct difference. My family was right – development changes a place. It’s often inevitable, but it can take the charm out of a hometown and turn it into something else entirely.
Perhaps it’s not just the environment I’m in that’s changed. Perhaps it’s me. I’m looking for the known and comfortable, but it’s living in my skin that feels unfamiliar. The truth is I’ve changed a lot these past four years. I look at things so differently. I ask new questions about life and my relationships. My goals and dreams don’t look the same that they once did.
Perhaps I’m wasting my time searching for the past. My roots aren’t interwoven in the trees around me. The past is gone. Any death is worthy of mourning. And although I’ve come home, I think it’s time to redefine what home means for me.
What does it feel like for you when you go home? Does it feel like a breath of fresh air, or stale familiarity? Does it feel like home at all? Let me know in the comments below.