Today after work and a boring meeting, I had to go to the center of my town to run some errands. With the exception of visiting the library, bank and the best pharmacy ever- I almost never spend time in my actual town. I work in a different town, my friends live in nearby towns and I usually enjoy restaurants in other towns. But, try as I may to pretend it's not the case, I currently own a house in the town I grew up in.
Truth be told, that was not the plan. That was the opposite of the plan in fact. Growing up if you told me I would EVER live here after the age of 18 I probably would've laughed very hard. But, if you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans, right?
I guess you could call me a homebody... though I'm not sure if anyone would really describe me that way. I've lived here, went to college 25 minutes away, moved back here, moved to one of the bordering towns, and then moved back here again. The one notable deviation from my predictable "move back here" life has been my 6 month study abroad in Sydney experience. It was at this time that I said goodbye to everyone I knew, jumped on a plane by myself, and moved to Australia for 6 months. Did I handle it well? I think so. Was I perfectly capable of handling life on my own? Sure (if you call life in school life on my own, which is questionable). Somehow even at the time I knew that was going to be a brief exercise in proving to myself I was capable of being "Miss Independent" so that I wouldn't have to do it again. Not that I couldn't, but just that I realized, why? I mean sure, there is something to be said for being able to handle life on my own... but I was missing a lot here too.
About two and a half years ago now, Eric and I decided to start looking at buying a house. My first words to my real estate agent, "Eric and I are not super picky about the town. We know there are a lot of great towns around here. We'd like to be in the middle of our two jobs. Oh and forget about ____, I grew up there and I'm NOT moving back." She laughed, but respected my wishes and showed us houses in many of the neighboring towns.
Fast forward through way too many terrible houses (or okay houses that have such low ceilings Eric can't even stand up) and I find myself at a house that can only be described as ON A HIGHWAY.... not kidding. My mom and Eric were both with me and I was clearly getting fed up with the house buying process. "Okay, I realize it is on a highway, but it is a nice house and a good price" (obviously because it is on a highway!). On the way home from highway house, we decided to stop by one more open house in my hometown. I couldn't believe I was even giving a house in this town a chance, but I figured I wouldn't like the house since I had not loved so many others. Well, of course- we did love the house and that is the story of how I found myself living in my hometown.
Honestly, I have become quite skilled at not revealing this fact about myself. I'll try not to mention both where I am from and where I currently live now in the same conversation. I also have become the master at describing my house as "on the town line of my town and the town next to mine." Even Eric has adopted this philosophy after learning that the town next door creates more of a "oh, great for you guys" reaction than our town... with it's more "snobby" reputation.
Is it really that bad living in my hometown? No... it's actually fantastic. I'm a 7 minute commute from work. I'm 3 miles from my parents. 20 minutes from Fenway Park. I have tons of great tutoring opportunities 10-15 minutes away. I love love LOVE my house.
I very rarely even catch sight of anyone I know, and I tend to have a lot more awkward encounters in the town I teach in than I do here. I think I always worried that if I lived here, my whole life would feel like high school. In fact, my life feels not at all like high school (at times it could use a little more high school!). It feels like an every day, normal life, just like it has felt like in any other town I've ever lived. Today I drove past my high school and it felt so far away from my life... like someone I know went there instead of myself.
Life is crazy.
On a positive note, I did manage to secure a house on the opposite side of town, meaning I will not be talking my own kids to my elementary or middle school and am at least 16 years or more away from setting foot inside the high school. And if the next ten years are in any way as unpredictable as the last ten years have been, who knows if I'll ever be back there?
Yet somehow, far away from my high school life, I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from back then... Turns out no where but who you're with that really matters.
How far away do you live from your hometown? Would you ever consider moving back? Do you think it's important to move away, at least temporarily, before coming back?