I liked growing up in a farm town, but I don’t want to go back.
This past year in Philadelphia did not make me miss the smell of cow manure, nor the isolation of living in the woods. Right now, I’m mentally preparing myself for the process of moving from bustling city life to the middle of nowhere.
I appreciated growing up in an area where I could wake up in the morning to the sole sounds of birds chirping, but for some reason I’ve become attached to the idea of waking up to a crazy old man shouting outside as a car almost hits him while he’s jaywalking. Anyone dealing with this first-world problem understands at least a few of these struggles when moving back home:
1. You have to drive everywhere again.
Growing up, I thought only a handful of people used subways on a regular basis. Now I know I was just dumb for thinking that, but seriously, I don’t want to go back to having to drive 10 minutes away to get a slice of pizza. I’ve been spoiled by Papa John’s special offers of late-night delivery. Food delivery is unheard of in places where it would take delivery boys three days to make a couple dollars in tips only to spend those tips on gas.
I will miss Uber and Lyft, and I will wish there were a Wawa a walkable distance away. Living in the city, I forgot gasoline even existed. Now I have to go back to burning my paycheck with it.
2. You have to do manual labor.
Having a big yard and winding country roads comes with a few downsides. The lawn doesn’t mow itself, the lawnmower doesn’t fix itself when it inevitably breaks down, and the tools to fix the lawnmower aren’t free. I’m lucky to be the son of a Jack of All Trades who is willing to teach me everything he knows about working with his hands, but sometimes, mowing the lawn can be a drag.
I like being lazy, and I’d rather put a few homework assignments on my calendar than rake leaves for a few hours.
3. You are miles away from your friends.
I’ll be waking up from 10-hour sleeps in the mid-afternoon, wasting my time on Facebook and Reddit, and eating food I didn’t cook. Realistically, my lifestyle will resemble my typical weekend at college -- minus the homework. It sounds pretty good just thinking about that, yet when I stumble out of bed toward the shower I share with only my family, I’m going to miss the rush of blood to the head I got every morning when I would see someone else scurrying to the only usable shower. OK, maybe I won’t miss that, but I am going to miss the people I was fighting for that shower.
I will miss hearing unreasonably loud voices in the hallway at five in the morning. I’ll also miss being one of those voices, waking people up because I was in such a good conversation with a new friend from Pakistan. I’ll spend the summer wishing I was surrounded by friends who were always around. At home, if I’m lonely, I’ll just have to wander outside in the middle of the night and talk to some trees.
4. There’s nothing happening ever.
You probably thought I was joking when I said I would walk outside in the middle of the night and talk to some trees, but I’m serious. I’m going to be a scene straight out of "The Happening."
Out in the country, nothing happens... ever. The best events we have are tricky trays and county fairs. I like fairs and all, but I can’t say for sure I would go to one if I could instead of a concert at a bar down the street. Goodbye, sanity.
I’m sure that once I spend a week back home, I’ll remember how I remained sane for 18 years in the middle of nowhere. I’ll take a drive and realize I actually liked getting behind the wheel. I’ll talk to my high school friends and forget for a moment that I even left. I’ll see my family and acknowledge why I still call the middle of nowhere home. But right now, I want to stay in Philly.