Growing up, I spent my days exploring my very quiet, small town in Nova Scotia. And by small, I mean one high school and one stop light type of small. We had lemonade stands in front of my home type of small.
Time seemed to stand still when I was outside taking photographs with my friends and visiting our local corner store for penny candy and slushies. Those were the days without computers and cell phones. Heck, you were cool if you had a digital camera back then!
I love(d) my hometown in a way I thought would never leave me. But, after living in the same town for more than a decade and again after college, those everyday routines that I had grown up with, seemed to get a little too comfortable.
My skin started to itch for adventure. I was overcome with wanderlust and that’s when I did it. I applied for a job across the country and I got it.
People thought I was out of my mind when I told them that I was packing my two suitcases and heading for a northern mining town in Manitoba. My friends couldn’t believe it and at some points, I couldn’t either. But, I pushed my fear aside, packed my suitcase, bought a parka and headed north. I smiled when I was waving goodbye to my hometown because I had these feelings of hope and triumph. I had made it out and I was living.
Leaving your hometown is no easy decision, but it was the best decision of my life. It honestly saved my life. I believe everyone should take this plunge, especially in their 20s. So, if you’re on the fence about moving away from home, allow me to share with you 4 things that happen when you go with your gut and put your hometown in the rearview mirror.
You Will Learn Fear Is An Emotion – Not a Way of Life
Let’s be real… fear stops us all from A LOT of things. Nothing comes easy nowadays, but what usually stands in the way of accomplishing our wildest dreams is fear. Once you realize that fear is simply an emotion that can be overcome with one baby step in the right direction, you will feel stronger. You will realize that with a little work and a lot of heart nothing can stand in the way of your dreams. Not even something that’s stopped you for so long!
Kick fear to the curb, stomp on it and start becoming a force to reckon with.
Your Comfort Zone Will Be Shattered In a Matter of Seconds
This may sound terrifying and it is! That’s why I put it as number one.
You’re going to experience this in the first few seconds after leaving your routine. Your stomach will knot up, your mind will race and you’ll text your best friend “what the hell do I think I’m doing….”
But, after you have your small (and normal) panic attack, you will realize why. The beauty of moving to a new place is that your eyes will be opened to so much newness. From meeting new people, tasting new foods, the hustle and bustle of a new city and simply becoming accustomed to a new life. It’s an amazing and unknown feeling. You’re going to love it.
Someone great once said that you cannot grow inside your comfort zone. So many people stay where they’re at because they’re comfortable. After a little while, you’re going to run towards change. You’re going to feel the exhilaration that comes from change. The feeling deep inside your soul. You’re a better person, a grown person and you’re finally finding out who you are.
Changing Your Location Can’t Fix You, But It Will Teach You
Home will always be home. Don’t get me wrong. When I travel back to Nova Scotia and Ontario, I feel this overwhelming sense of happiness. I call that my home heart beating again.
But, after living in four different provinces in the past couple of years, I will tell you something I’ve learned. The ONLY home you will ever have is the one within yourself. You need to feel at home within yourself before anywhere else can become your happy place. If you don’t do this, you’re always going to be aching for something more, a feeling of acceptance and need from a place.
When you leave your hometown, remember this… if you’re running from something, it will catch up to you. If you’re not running from something, pay attention to what your new home is going to teach you. There are a lot of lessons that come with leaving your routine life behind. Trust me.
Keeping In Touch With Family And Friends Isn’t Easy
It’s a harsh reality. It’s hard to keep in touch with your loved ones and you will realize this. At first, you’re probably going to be super proud of yourself. You and your best friends will text every day and have weekly phone conversations. You will call you family here and there to keep them updated. You will post everything you get up to on social media to keep your family in the know.
But, things will slowly drift off and that’s okay. YES, you heard it. It’s OKAY! Your friends and family will still be there if you don’t have the chance to text them for two weeks. You’re exploring your newfound freedom. You’re living.
This one was a very hard one for me to handle. I felt like I lost a lot of my close friends when I left my hometown, but I actually grew closer to them without realizing. When I saw my best friends after four years of not seeing them, it was exciting showing them the life I’ve created for myself. And it was extra exciting to see how happy they were for me.
Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t mind. The important people will stick by you. They will be proud of your growth and they will tell you and show you that.
So, what are you waiting for?
Forget about the FOMO back home. You’re going to create a sense of FOMO for everyone still stuck in your hometown, living a routine life being stopped by fear. If you’ve ever been curious about what it feels like to live away from your support system and to truly find out who you are…. I urge you to move.Leaving my hometown saved my life. It created a fearless, independent, kind and genuine woman who I am so proud to be today. I wouldn’t be her if I didn’t experience other places, other cultures and met new people who helped form the Molly I am writing this.