17 years of my life were spent in the same house. This house held many sacred moments and many fond memories. It was in this house I learned how to take my first steps, ride a bike, and take care of another living being. It was in this house I learned about sickness, death, and mourning. This house became a part of who I was and how I personally identified.

For 17 years this house defined everything about me, and suddenly it was gone.

For my father, the house he grew up in was long in his rearview mirror, and he no longer held it so dearly to his heart. However, my father did hold the town he came from close to his heart. He grew up in a smaller town in Ohio and was raising his two children in Colorado after 16 years of moving around in the military.

Needless to say, the man was homesick. It became more evident to me with each year I got older. The time it was most apparent of how homesick he indeed was, was when his parents both passed away around the same time. My father had become withdrawn from us.

It took close to three years after my grandparents' death for my father to revisit Ohio. We made the road trip in the summer of 2017 to stay with my aunt and cousin. Just me, my dad, and the open road.

It was actually excruciating. My dad, being a man of strict timing, forced us to keep on driving until we were both riddled with exhaustion and were a wreck of emotions. We had about 23 hours one way, which gave us plenty of time to talk.

I mentioned in passing in one of these hours a thought that would eventually be echoed back to me. '"What if we moved?" It was this thought that laid the seed, for the plant to grow.

The water for the plant came a little later when we went for a drive one day. My dad remembered this insane farm that we had to drive past and see. I, being always armed for an adventure, readily agreed, and piled into the car with no clue of where we were going.

As much as I love my dad, he has very little sense of direction and immediately got us lost on a random street. On this street was a house for sale. With wide eyes and a lonely heart, my dad's interest was piqued. At my own fault, I have a tendency to egg my father on, so keeping this in mind I looked up the listing with the price information. It was in what he would assume his price range to be.

The seed and water were now in place, and the plant was forming. We talked about moving the whole 23-hour ride back from Ohio. I was sold. I had a rough junior year and was ready for a change in scenery. There were a few obstacles to contend with before we could follow our heart's content:

1. My brother

2. My dad's work

3. A long distance home search

These obstacles were nothing to the man that had so long desired to be back at home. He gave my brother an ultimatum of moving across the country or moving out on his own. My brother agreed to a cross-country move, even though he had a great life in Colorado.

My dad's work agreed to let him work remotely — it was hard to say no when they had salespeople working from all across the country — making him the first programmer from his office to work outside the state.

The long distance home search was done by proxy of my great uncle. We would pick out interesting houses on Zillow and send my great uncle to investigate and give a full workup and diagnostic. With all of these obstacles overcome, it was less than 4 months before we moved.

I can't say this was a dream, no matter how excited I was. I left behind my home, where I had lived for 17 years. I left behind amazing friends. I even left behind an opportunity to make enough money to move out on my own. Yet even though I left behind all these fantastic things I also left behind a haunting past, crutches of the past, and a place that caused me more anxiety than I am willing to admit.

It is always easier to stay in your comfort zone, but it is going outside of that comfort zone that makes life worth living. If we hadn't moved, I wouldn't have graduated, I wouldn't have gotten into college, and I wouldn't be as genuinely happy as I am now.

If I can give any advice this year, it is to go outside of your comfort zone because you never know when it will be the best decision you have ever made.