What Leaving Teaches You About Life

I couldn’t have been more ready to peace outta this joint when I moved last August.  The allure of meeting new people, making a new routine and simply starting over captivated me.  My roommate and I often talk about how if we would’ve known what was headed our way, we probably wouldn’t have signed up.  This past year held more joy than I ever could imagine—yet, at the same time, more pain than I ever would dream.  I’d never understood the Charles Dickens quote until now: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  I’d never been on my own before, which instigated elation and terror all at the same time.  While no one could repay me to live this year over again, I wouldn’t trade it because of the five things leaving has taught me about life.Version 2

1. Leaving home taught me who I really am.  With thousands more people around me, that means thousands more personalities, backgrounds, hopes and hurts.  We probably can all remember a time from the *glorious* middle and high school years where we worked so hard to conform and just fit in.  For me, that meant not shopping at Justice in sixth grade when my cool friend said she would not shop there anymore during a trip to the mall (with one of our moms, duh).  But the older I get, the more I realize there’s too many people to please.  You will have no consistency in life if you always adapt to the people you’re with.  It is utterly impossible to perceive and then become the person you think everyone else wants you to be.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

2. I found out what I really want in life once I left home.  Before I left, I envisioned a bubbling night life.  And while I enjoy my friends and like exploring new coffee shops, I also began to crave staying in.  I began to realize that I can’t sustain a social life that runs 24/7 in terms of energy and money.  And that’s okay.  After a long week, I usually just want to put on sweatpants, do laundry and watch Friends.  I love going to bed early and having time to myself.  Being in a new environment gave me independence—not just to try new things but also to say I’d rather not go out tonight.  I may not have a hot ‘gram to post on the Insta, but I’m refreshed and ready to engage with friends later.Cameron Park Waco Texas Cowgirl

3. Leaving home helped me realize where I’m going.  We all have dreams the moment we can formulate thoughts whether that’s becoming an actress or getting picked first for gym class soccer.  But those pursuits change with the weather.  One of our friends says theater is for geeks; our sixth grade “best friend” says soccer is too tomboy-ish.  But as we grow older and hone in what our real passions are, the true test of whether this is actually what we want to do with our lives is leaving.  Leaving means separation from our support system.  Will we still pursue art when our parents aren’t cheering us on?  Will we keep putting in long hours at the gym when we’re separated from our workout buddy?  Leaving your comfort zone allows you to experiment.  When the familiar setting and support fades, will you still stand?  Leaving home has confirmed my deep love for writing.  Being surrounded by people passionate about the same things as I am and learning more about the art have confirmed that yes, this is what I’m meant to do.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

4. I realized I’m not like everyone else after I left home.  And while this may come as a duh, I’m not just talking about the basics: different majors, skin colors or hobbies.  I’ve been exposed to so many different viewpoints and ideas that aren’t as common where I’m from.  It’s so refreshing to live in a place where every single girl isn’t wearing lululemon yoga pants and a Vineyard Vines tee.  Now that I’ve moved, I’ve met and interacted with people of different ideologies, fashion senses and values.  I wouldn’t say I’ve radically changed my views, but I’ve realized the world is not just my neighborhood.Cameron Park Jump for Joy Travel

5. And more than anything, I’ve found home will never be the same.  Whether you went on a two-week trip to Bali or moved away to college, leaving never leaves you unchanged.  Just 10 days in Europe helped me to truly understand that the world is so much bigger than me and that I don’t know as much as I think I do.  But after moving, coming home just isn’t the same.  It’s no one’s fault.  It’s that once you leave, you grow and change.  You plant new roots in a new town among new people, which inevitably loosens your ties at home.  Family and hometown friends will always have a special place due to their history, but relationships will look different.  After a week at home, I’m usually itching to be back.  But once I return, I often miss home.  This tug-of-war is simply the transition of independence.

You can’t stay in one place forever.  Even if you live in the same house from birth to death, paint color changes, shingles get replaced, neighbors move out.  But most importantly, you change.  And the bottom line is leaving the comfortable will ultimately teach you more than you could ever learn from any education.



{What have you learned from leaving home?}

3 thoughts on “What Leaving Teaches You About Life

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