Home. What in the world does that even mean? Where you grew up? Where you live now? Does it have to be a full-on brick and mortar house with a yard? Are you a roaming nomad? For those of you who have graduated from high school and entered into the college or adult world, I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about. We all reach a point (usually that big 1-8 birthday where you are legally considered an adult) where it’s time to live our own life. You probably have left the nest and created a world of your own – you call the shots on when to go out, when to go to bed, what to eat, and how often you change your sheets. Ok, that last one might be a little gross but it’s all about learning to live on your own.
When I went to college, I left a little piece of me back in Southern California. I thought it was a given that I would move back to LA. It’s where I grew up, where my family is, etc. It was home. I didn’t really give Santa Clara a chance and instead spent too much time worrying about classes and if I was involved enough or ready for the outside world. I would just dip my toes in the Silicon Valley, never letting myself admit that I could adapt to Northern California ways. I spent too much time looking back rather than in the moment. But then something happened. When I went home for the holidays, it no longer felt normal. People had moved away, stores had changed and I didn’t know where I was supposed to fit into all of that. For some reason I thought that nothing would change, no one would grow older, and it would all stay the same.
When senior year started, I decided I needed to change things up. I wanted another shot at what my dad called “reinventing myself” or really just letting my true personality shine – no holding back and no worries if some people couldn’t relate. I decided to move to New York and there is where things fell into place. I stopped worrying what people thought about me, I started focusing on the things I like to do – like exploring and working out – and started to make some really good friends. I let people get to know the real me and stopped presenting a version of who I thought I should be. It started to feel like home. Every time I left to visit my family or explore another part of the east coast, I would get excited to see the NYC skyline or the tall skyscrapers from a distance.
Living in New York has been one of the best decisions I have made. I love the fast paced life style, the diversity of people, and the wide range of opportunities available.
^^ It took me almost a year to find out about November Project but I am 100% certain it has contributed to my happiness here.
^^ Then there are these people. My np_nyc tribe. I’m sorry but the np_lax just didn’t feel like home. I’m sure I would fit right in after a few weeks of workouts and hardcore dedication – that’s after all how I started to make NYC feel like home – but I just missed my friends and the other familiar faces
^^ So maybe my life is built up by working out and November Project. That’s not too much a problem though since we are the work hard & play hard types of people. I think life can be about finding people with common interests and making the most out of those relationships. If it means you see them once or twice a week or maybe daily, then so be it. But we shouldn’t force ourselves into situations that constantly make us unhappy or uncomfortable. Even though I’m only 24, I feel as though I’ve experienced enough of that. I’m done with feeling insecure and the odd man out.
Then I flew back to Southern California for the 4th of July. I saw family, I went to the mountains, I went to the beach, and I saw friends who had just moved out to the west side of Los Angeles.
Sure there was traffic, but there were views like this ^^. We went running on trails and then had breakfast in a popular coffee spot (Urth Cafe – Spanish latte or Spanish granita – get it and you will not be sorry) by the beach. Life was somehow easier in a way but more difficult in other ways. My brain started to become muddled with what to do.
^^ Yes, this happens but then so does this:
^^ For goodness sake I’m only 24 but I feel like the weight of the future is resting heavily on my shoulders right now. There are people going to med school and getting engaged and even married with kids! I know this feeling of confusion is going to be a long one – that’s why there are articles out there like Though Catalog’s “The Hardest Things People Had To Learn in Their 20’s“. Yes, I admit, a lot of this is #firstworldproblems so I apologize if this seems trivial. Let’s just say being back in California for an extended period of time was odd and I felt like I was in limbo. No doubt I would like to move back there some day, but when? The answer is I don’t know right now. Maybe it’s a year or maybe it’s longer.
^^ Maybe the real decision should be based upon the wide variety of acai bowls offered? I may have selected Santa Clara as my college of choice because they offered a “make-your-own-parfait” on the weekends. True story.
I know that I like being close to my family – being able to golf or go for a hike or go out to dinner. I know that I like having my own schedule and having a constant list of places to explore here in Manhattan. I wish that Los Angeles didn’t rely so much on driving and the west side was closer together (wishful thinking). I wish that New York was cleaner and that it was easier to escape the island and explore the coast (problem – I need a car/place to stay that’s relatively cheap…recent graduate problems).
I write for fun and to connect with people. I read blogs to feel a commonality and have made some excellent friends through it. I read blogs like Ali’s to feel validated in showing my quirky personality and that things work out, and I read posts like Sarah’s to know that we are all thriving and struggling at the same time. We have become friends outside of the blogging world and are usually two peas in a pod. (or insert dancing emoji) ;)
^^ View from my run over the Manhattan bridge (accidentally on the biking-designated side) to NP in Brooklyn last Friday.
I’m fully aware that I don’t have to have my 5-10-15 year plan figured out right now. I know that things change and the next year(s) will be life lessons in themselves. I could learn to love the city and east coast even more or another winter could do me in. Who knows? For now, I’m happy in this crazy place I call home, at least for now. I know my mom has heard this discussion too many times to count, so sorry mom. Now that it has been written and published for the world wide web, I will let it drop and just go out there and carpe diem. Let’s live it up for the moment, sound good?
Does anyone else feel the pull between comfort (often w/ family) and adventure (and growth)? Does there have to be such a divide?