I consider myself a relatively strong person- life has thrown me my fair share of challenges and I have survived all of them. However, no matter how thick I consider my skin to be, there is one thing that always tears me to pieces. Without fail, I become an emotional wreck when it comes to leaving my family back home. I have talked to multiple people in my life who I look up to. People who I consider to be more confident, independent and stronger than me. All of them say the same thing – it never gets any easier leaving home.
I lived at home throughout my time at college. The longest I had ever lived away from my family was when I spent seventeen days in Greece and Italy my senior year of high school. So when I made the move to Tennessee last year it was my first time living on my own, and it was a big transition. Many of you who are starting your first year of college and living on campus can probably relate to this. No matter how excited you may be to be out on your own, there’s no denying that when you leave home behind there’s a void that forms inside of you.
So why is it so hard? Many of us, myself included, wait for what seems like an eternity to be out on our own, to have our own space and to experience full-fledged freedom, yet the minute this was all handed to me, all I could think about was how much I missed my family. I’ve been on my own now for a year and a half and have had plenty of time to think about why leaving home is so hard. First of all, you are leaving your comfort zone. While you might think that you are ready to fly solo and be out in the big bad world, there is something inherently scary about leaving the nest.
Another thing is that life in a new place can be disorienting. I moved over 600 miles from where I lived for the first 22 years of my life. Luckily for me, I had family in the area who could help me out, but I still felt a sense of being in an entirely new town with new people and not knowing how to navigate it. How I suggest handling this is to make an adventure out of it. Sometimes the best part of moving to an entirely new place is to explore and make it your own. Get lost, find new places and discover your new favorite coffee shop or boutique.
However, if there’s one reason that I can narrow it down to as to why leaving home is so hard, it would have to be because you are leaving your people. For me, it’s not necessarily the actual house or the town that I grew up in that I hate leaving, even though going back to those places does make me happy. It’s the fact that I am driving away from the people I love the most in this world. The fact that I’m leaving my tribe and won’t be seeing them again for a couple of months. I think when you live at home for such a long period of time, it becomes easy to feel suffocated by your parents and siblings and the desire for a fresh start and a space of your own becomes inevitable. Just know that these feelings are natural, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t miss your family like crazy when you leave them.
Don’t think that I’m saying you shouldn’t move halfway across the country or out on your own. I don’t regret what I did one bit – it’s been a great adventure so far and a wonderful growing experience. All I’m saying is that there are days when it’s not easy. There are nights when I wish I could watch reality TV and share a pizza with my sister or hang out and drink coffee with my mom and dad on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the 10 and a half hour drive don’t make quick visits that easy. So cherish the time you have with the people you love, prepare yourself for the adventure of being out on your own and know that leaving home never gets easier but it makes the time you do spend there more special.