Life has a way of being funny at times.
And not always in the “haha” kind of way.
When I was a teenager, I reached a point where all I wanted was to get away. I had lived in the same town my entire life, and I figured the best thing for me was to leave and go far, far away. You remember when you were a teenager, and anything was a HUGE deal, and there was drama with everything? My life was no exception.
When it was time to start applying to colleges, I started off only looking at out-of-state schools. I wanted nothing more than to leave Texas (I know—such a horrible idea). At one point, I was even only looking at schools in the Northeast. (Side note: I HATE cold weather.) My mom kept telling me that I should stay in Texas, and that just made me want to leave even more. I planned a sporadic trip to Virginia—spending nearly every penny I had earned working at the Smoothie Factory—to visit UVA. When my mom found out, she bought a ticket and tagged along. I hated admitting it at the time, but I was really glad she came with me.
I ended up applying to Texas A&M and UT, and it’s a good thing I did, because at some point I realized going to school far away wasn’t really what I want to do. I didn’t want to be that far away from my family and from the comforts of home. I flipped a coin between the two schools, and I ended up at A&M. I’ll save my extensive college story for another day, but I ended up going to four different schools (two of them two different times), and I finished off those stressful four years at SMU. For the last year or so of college, I lived at home with my parents—in that same hometown I had tried so hard to get away from. At the time, I wasn’t happy about that. I still didn’t want to be there.
After college, I moved away as soon as I got my first job. There were two brief stints during those eight years when I had to live with my parents again because of either a job transition or a moving transition. I felt weird being back. Some of my friends had started families and moved back to the town, but I couldn’t understand why. Why would anyone want to live in the same place she grew up? It made no sense to me.
My current lease ends in December, and I’ve been looking in a few areas trying to find a new place to live. It’s been a rather exhausting process. I want to feel safe, but I also want somewhere where I feel like I belong—somewhere that feels like home. Lately I had been feeling a longing to go back to where I grew up. I miss the sense of community there is there. When I told my sister, who is my voice of reason on so many things in life, her answer was so simple: do it.
Even though I tried for so long to get away from it, I really love my hometown. I love how much people come together to help and support one another. I love that I don’t feel like I have to run with pepper spray. I love that practically the entire city gathers in the stadium on Friday nights for football games. I love running into people I know when I go to Tom Thumb. I love being able to find parking spaces wherever I go. I love the parks system and how hard the city works to keep those parks nice. I love that my parents still live there. I love how friendly people are. I love that it simply makes me feel good to be there.
There’s no shame in going home. Sometimes people go out in life to new places and discover they were meant to be in those places. Others find they belong in the places that originally started their journeys. LeBron James left Cleveland to live it up in Miami—South Beach, bringin’ the heat—for a bit. But, ultimately, he realized the place he really wanted to be was back home. And he wasn’t ashamed or afraid to admit it. Aside from the whole NBA fame thing, LeBron and I have a lot in common: I just want to be home.
It’s important in life to do the things you do for the reasons you know to be right. Who cares what other people think? If you know you’re supposed to do something, you need to do it. If you know God is calling you toward something, someone or somewhere, the time to act is now. You don’t ever have to be afraid to do something with Him by your side.
And He will always welcome you home.