Finals are done, your car is packed, and you're already on route back to your hometown for the summer. They tell you all the great things about coming home: not having to worry about waking up for class, free food since you live with your parents, and seeing all your friends from high school. What they always forget to mention is when home doesn't quite feel like home anymore.
Coming back from your first year away at college is amazing. It's like taking a vacation from all the stress you thought you had from school and work. It's getting a chance to see everyone from high school and relive all your favorite traditions with them; however, if you're similar to me, you've been away at college for a few years now. You've created a new lifestyle for yourself and you've also made a new friend group. It's not that you don't love coming home to see your family and friends, it's that when you do, nothing is the same.
You drive around town and see your old stomping grounds where you cheered on your high school football team on Friday nights and remember all the places you used to hangout on Saturday nights. It's all these amazing memories that now seem out of reach. It's difficult being back. You want to remember your town the way you left it, not the way it is when you return.
You'll have your parents nag you for not hanging out with your old friends and while you want to and will, things are just different. You've all become different people. You've moved away, tasted freedom, and found out the type of people you want to be. Your whole world has changed within the blink of an eye and sometimes it's hard to accept.
While coming back home is comforting, it's also discouraging. You no longer see familiar faces riding around town and some of your old hangout spots have closed up shop. There is always new buildings and restaurants popping up and you wonder if this is how home will feel from now on.
You still love dropping by to see your family but you'll realize they're lives move on even when you're not around. You'll probably feel like an outcast sometimes at family gatherings as you can't keep up with everyone's lives anymore. You've missed out on big milestones and are no longer informed about decisions your family has made.
You'll always love coming back to your hometown. You'll find yourself riding around the back roads with the windows down enjoying the nostalgia you're feeling, but you'll miss your new home. While your home town has that special place in your heart, you've also created space for where you are now. Your life and the world around you is constantly changing, and now is when you'll start to experience it.
This is okay. At this point in your life you're allowed to have two places to call home. That college town of yours is home for right now, but your hometown will always be a place you can run to. You can now let go of your childhood, and embrace the life you've created along the way.