Sometimes staying is harder than leaving.
When you’re just starting out in life the thought of leaving your childhood home can be scary, but most of the time, it is also exciting. I think the excitement and hope for new opportunities and adventures is what makes leaving easier. I’ve heard and seen so many people say “ah, they took the easy way out” or “they didn’t do anything with their lives” when referring to those who stayed put and didn’t leave after school. I personally think that is unfair, because ultimately, staying can be a lot harder than leaving. I think it’s a lot easier to leave a tough situation than stay and lean into it. It’s also a lot easier to leave and be able to say that you are no longer living “home” and talk about all the places you’ve lived and the things you have done, than to stay and face those same snotty remarks and looks over and over because “you’re still here” and “you haven’t gone anywhere in life”. Let’s be honest, one thing people are good at is passing judgment on others, and one thing they’re bad at is holding up the mirror to their own lives.
There seems to be this misconception about “staying”. We’re all expected to go off and leave home in search of a life of our own with a new home. It goes hand in hand with the expectation that we’re supposed to be married with children by the time we’re 30….. Why is that?!
The problem with these theories is that every person is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. People find “home” in different places and in different ways. We also do things in our own time. Some people take longer than others to put a life together that is deemed proper/acceptable in society’s eyes, but those people also tend to live richer, happier, more content lives in the end, because it’s through the searching, grappling, floundering, climbing, and crawling that a person learns what they want out of life and who they are.
Sometimes you don’t have to leave to find your home. Sometimes “home” turns out to be the very place you spent the first little chunk of your life trying to escape. One day you wake up and realize you’ve been standing on it your whole life. You look around at the pale blue skies, the full green trees, the neatly mowed grass, the white butterflies floating on the breeze, and yes, even the beaten up fence, and all of a sudden warmth of both the sun and the childhood memories smack you in the face. Home has always been right here.
It’s not just the fond memories and sentimentality that holds you here. No, it goes much deeper. It’s the land itself that holds you captive. Its dirt and clay run through your veins, the trickling of the brook calls out to your soul.
Someone once told me that sometimes you just have to stand still to find what you’re looking for, be it God, your purpose, peace, or home. I’ve come to realize that they were right. Sometimes all you have to do is stay, open your eyes, and listen to your heart to find Home.
Home is the nicest place there is.
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She works as a freelance writer and editor, as well as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.