I grew up not hating my city but ready to embark on greener pastures and seldom look back. I longed for adventure and to experience life with seasons, less humidity, and more terrain. A typical teen who thought, “I need to grow and move on,” believing there is something else out there for me and I need to make a fresh start. Sure enough, I left for college and loved the exciting opportunities of a new city.
It wasn’t until my third move out of state that I realized I was slowly making my way home.
I missed the familiarity and rooted community that I remembered but felt just out of reach, although not too far away. Once the notion of growing a family was on the horizon, something was pulling me back to where all my memories began.
In turn, moving home also meant beginning a new chapter without a fresh start. Navigating the preconceived notions and obligations was just the beginning of the hurdles that arose once my husband and I settled into the familiar. So many memories flooded in as I drove the streets I once roamed as a child, all while I knew I needed to propel myself and my new family forward. Nostalgia can bring beautiful comfort but can be restricting. You can still be lost once found.
Resettling in my hometown has had its share of awkward encounters.
Do you address your elementary school teachers by their first names? Do you inevitably remind strangers of your family members they once knew? “Are you so-and-so’s little sister, best friend, or daughter?”
I’ve traded in my anonymity at the grocery store for small-town charm. I’ve exchanged bumper-to-bumper traffic for coastal highways and cities for my home.
No city is perfect. Nothing can exist without having its fair share of problems. There’s a lot we’ve given up to return to our roots. But right now, it far outweighs the alternatives. Giving up career opportunities, a bustling art scene, and copious exotic cuisines only inspire us to be a part of making our town thrive.
Being a member of a growing community and at the same time recognizing my home’s historical significance, both familial and city-wide, has helped me gain an appreciation for the past. I’ll always cherish moments like seeing my children baptized in the church where I grew up and experience living a few short blocks away from the naturally rich bayou nestled close to a bustling downtown.
Sometimes there truly is no place like home.