Change of Scenery

It’s been nice to be back in the States. Not necessarily to fill some deep longing for America, but the people here I care about. Coming back is beginning a new chapter, starting a new internship and preparing for my final year of college.

Another change has transpired since coming back. Actually, the change occurred while I was still abroad. After living in the same town my whole life, my family has finally moved to a new city. When I left home in early January, I did so hoping that it would be the last time I would live there.

It was a surreal experience to touch down in South Dakota and not have to drive three hours to go back home. I arrived home to a brand new house, new street, new environment.

I’ve talked before about how I feel about my hometown. I don’t have the fondest memories living there. Of course it’s inevitable to endure some hardship when coming of age, but it was very difficult going back there to see my parents. Besides some friends still around the area, they were the only reason I ever went back. The second I drove into city limits, my road rage appropriately reached an all-time high.

It hasn’t been very long living here, but the first week alone, I went to so many places and went back twice to my campus (that is now only an hour away) to get some tasks completed and see others. Going from a town of 13,000 to over 100,000 is hard to fully grasp. There are so many options here that I don’t know what to do with myself.

While I could probably rave about my short time in a new city the whole post, I wanted to at least make a point worth discussing and reading. Firstly, this change has really opened my eyes to the fact that location does not determine feeling at home, but the people you’re surrounded with. It’s not a lesson I just stumbled upon, but recent events have proven it especially true. In Canada, I didn’t feel homesick, but I missed being around my friends and family. I could stay in Canada forever (or at least a long time) if had a familiar favorite face nearby.

Now for some people, coming from months in another country back to a house you have never lived in could be disorienting. I sure expected that as I hopped into a car and was driven through streets I’ve never seen before, having no idea what driveway we’d pull into. But the transition was instantaneous and simple. I didn’t once think about living elsewhere or imagining myself anywhere else. The city itself is great and the people who live here are all very nice, but coming back to my parents and spending the summer with them has been a great blessing.

My second point here is the power of changing your environment, no matter how big or small. Living back in my hometown, especially when there wasn’t any school to think about, I got stuck in ruts constantly. I found myself resorting back to a negative mindset that drug everyone down with me.

Physical location is really a minute factor. It’s the mindset you associate with it. If you’re in a place that feels draining, that’s when it’s time to leave. The process for leaving is usually a tricky, tedious one, but the end result is so worth the effort. The location is the catalyst sometimes necessary to make a fresh start for yourself, to gain a greater perspective on the world around you.

Plus, I think it’s important to travel and live in different places throughout your life, even if that means a quick road trip to somewhere new or moving to the next town over. The world is far too big to settle in a single spot with no inkling for new climates and cultures and adventures. Travel is how we learn and grow, how we truly understand each others’ differences across state and national borders. So if you want to go somewhere completely new, pack up a car and drive to a new city and start a life for yourself, I say, go for it. The personal growth of navigating somewhere new and adjusting your life accordingly is incomparable to much else.

We as humans have evolved to be adaptive to our surroundings. With enough willpower and resourcefulness, we can live in virtually any condition out there. But that inner voice that may fear the unknown, that is uncertain any other house or place could ever feel like home, holds us back from life’s greatest adventures. Moving brings about its own challenges; don’t let your insecurities also be obstacles.

Or heck, just paint a wall. Move furniture around. Plant something new. Transfer to a new school. Picking up a new hobby or routine. The simplest actions with good intentions can have a dramatic impact on our mental health. The emotions we associate with our lives are at our disposal. We might not be able to control every twist and turn life throws our way, but why not make the most of what you can control? Make the move. Take the chance.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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