Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I moved from my home in Chicago back to my hometown in Ohio, in August 2017. I can remember specifically wanting to be back in time for my sister’s due date in September. The thought of moving home had been lingering in my mind for months but to be honest the uncertainty of it never made enough sense for me to make the move. Here’s what did make sense to me. I’d been away from home since moving away for college and I’d missed a lot of time and memories with family I knew I’d never get back. When my sister first told me that I was going to be an aunt my heart swelled with joy and my eyes soaked with tears. I knew this would be another memory of my life that if I missed I’d regret for the rest of my life.
My emotions have always seemed to my biggest push to action and while they encourage me to live a life with my heart that sometimes moves quicker than the logic of my own intentions. I don’t regret the choice I’ve made in moving back home and it’s important for me to remember even now how my emotions can dictate my direction. This December my sister will welcome her second baby to our family and while my heart is yet again filled with immense joyfulness at the sight of her own happiness, it’s also immensely heavy with wanting to find that same contentment in my own life. The closeness I was focusing on attaining with my family was the first lesson I learned about needing a complete redo and it’s the first tip I’ll pass on to you. If you struggle with the balance of having your own life/family without the guilt that you’re abandoning the one you were raised in, then this tip may be for you. I abandoned my own life hoping it would fix the gap I was trying to close in detachment from my family.
- Proximity to any person, place or thing does not guarantee the safe keeping of it.
In high school, I used to keep my cell phone in the back pocket of my jeans thinking the closer it was the safer it’d be. After countless times of it ending up broken, lost under the bleachers or more so just nowhere to be found I realized proximity had nothing to do with making sure I didn’t lose/break my phone. My relationship with my family had dwindled immensely over the years that I’d been away to college and even more so when I decided to spend the three years after college in Chicago. At the time I was selfishly doing what I thought was right for me, yet it didn’t feel selfish until that year I knew I was soon going to be an aunt. An interesting yet bold stance I’m still proud I understood about myself as a 19-year-old, 22-year-old and then continued as a 25-year-old. It was the desire I had to be close to my family that began to feel like my fault for no longer having. It was true I had been gone for a while, but I’d also been absent from their lives due to my inability to forgive them for the animosity I carried from my father’s passing.
Which brings me to this point; it doesn’t matter how near you are to someone or something in a location if there are difficulties that need to be addressed they will show up regardless.
At first, moving home felt like a huge miscalculation when I realized it wasn’t going to fix my own disappointment I carried for not being close to my family. Today it has brought a new closeness with them I never would have probably not received had I not come home. It’s important, I believe to make decisions we trust are best for ourselves and not based on anyone else. The people who truly matter in our lives will be there for us if we continue to make decisions that truly make us happy. I wanted to move home thinking it would make them and I happier, yet I didn’t know them well enough at that time to know what would even make them happy. Now that I have learned to understand them better I can appreciate them in a way that allows me to recognize and respect my own needs and decisions.
When my father died, any obligation I made to family, friends and myself started to take a backseat of importance in my life and I could see that. One thing I couldn’t and wouldn’t let myself lose sight of was the focus I’d put on wanting to be successful. The year he died I continued to work two jobs, attend school full time while also dividing time between an internship I wasn’t getting paid for. I’d worked enough throughout college and in various jobs in Chicago to know exactly what I didn’t want in a career. I had begun accepting one job after the other just to keep busy. The possibilities felt endless but so did my ability to ever truly reach success. Bringing me to my second tip:
- Success isn’t always about what you do, but rather who you become.
My ideas and focus on achievement changed often and continues to. Sometimes, I think the world we live in changes so frequently that we often feel we must also change with it at the same speed. My career has always been a great focus of mine, I moved home to get closer to doing day to day what I wanted to do and achieving that brought me a great joy. Yet every achievement, much like in Chicago felt like now what? I feel like my achievements have been overshadowed in my own mind by this need for what’s next. I’m starting to realize that until we become the people we are proud to be any “success” will never feel good enough to enjoy. Slowing down to acknowledge and appreciate where you are now is as much of an achievement as recognizing and working on the kind of person you want to become. In deciding to leave one job for the next I often left suddenly without much thought to why I no longer enjoyed one and what I was looking for in the next. It was spending the most time in a job completely wrong for me still brought me to realize I had been lacking in the parts of my life that would truly make me feel successful. It’s important to keep in mind what qualities we are committing to building with time and what skills we are developing that will bring us the greatest joy. Some of the greatest friendships I made in Chicago came from that same job and at the time I didn’t realize the importance I’d begun to place on developing and maintaining meaningful friendships in my life.
- Outgrowing people and places is as normal as outgrowing styles and trends.
I don’t need to list the horrible high school trends we carried that seem to be making a comeback in fashion today but let’s not forget why we once surpassed them. All things in life get recycled, forgotten, skirted and reacquainted. Friends much like that jean skirt, trust me, they are the hardest to let go. Personally, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that some things just aren’t cute after 25. This is a hard lesson I’m learning not with fashion but friends, for sure. I’ve lost friendships with my inability to grow up, outgrew ones with their inability to do the same and held on to others for too long not wanting to let go, but regardless I can recollect all of them for the fondness I once developed for them. Coming home at a time when I felt this need to reconnect with friendships I had outgrown seemed to come instantaneously with the same feeling I had to come back home to my family. The tip here; it’s okay to outgrow certain obligations to family and friends you once held to be true. In fact, sometimes it’s essential to recognize when your growth and theirs is needing to take place. Maybe I’m still learning this one, actually, I know I am. However, all I know is that I felt deeply disappointed towards people in my life who I felt left me for reasons I couldn’t understand. It took me having to leave places and people I loved for me to realize why it’s essential to respect and allow the process of growth to take place and take you on to the next path of your own life.
There will be another cycle in life where that friendship, relationship and/or that jean skirt comes back in familiar comfort, yet it is us who have the option to choose if that look and quality still fit within the life we are currently occupying. If not, be big enough to also let it go without tending too much to the aftermath of your required wishes. If it makes more sense for others to no longer occupy the same space of your life then that’s okay, just make sure you love them enough to also let them go.