If I am being honest, I do not even know the zip code of the city that my current hometown resides in. I'm not kidding. Every time I fill up my gas tank I have to google the Emerald Isle zip code. Why you may ask? Because I have lived in about 15 different cities with 15 different zip codes through my journey of growing up. Somewhere along the line, I just stopped memorizing them. It is safe to say I did not grow up like the typical American girl due to having a father in the military.
Moving around to so many different places all over the U.S. opened my eyes to just how prominent ethnocentrism is throughout the country. Typically, the town you are born into has a huge influence on the person you are today. We form to fit into cultural and social norms in order to be accepted by peers and even family.
I have lived on the beautiful California beaches of the West Coast, somehow dealt with sub-zero temperatures in New England for a couple of years, and will unashamedly admit that I have dined on way too much sweet tea and southern comfort food in North Carolina for the past 4 years now. I even got to live on the mesmerizing island of Oahu for a couple of years- and yes, it was heaven on earth.
Every different place that I lived in proved to me just how much one's hometown can play such a huge role in their values, beliefs, personalities and most importantly, futures.
The majority of the rest of the American population was born and raised in one city and grew up having the same zip code for their whole life. Regardless of if you were born into poverty, wealth, or middle class, it does not matter. As long as you have a heartbeat and are breathing, you have all the potential in the whole world to pave your own destiny.
The most important thing I learned from having so many different zip codes is that getting out of your hometown may be a complete unknown and scary thing to think about, but leaving everything that you know behind can open your eyes to just how broad and interesting the rest of the world can be.
Never let anyone tell you that you can not do something that you have a passion for. We are all born with different callings in life. Sometimes the most confusing and toughest part of growing up is truly just figuring out what that calling is. It is okay for your hometown to influence your future, but we should not let it define our destiny. Breaking the mold of what one considers successful in your culture and hometown will not only inspire others to do the same but will also serve as the first step to opening new doors. Most importantly, it will teach you how to tackle whatever constant unknowns that life will always have ready to throw at your head on.
The person who follows the crowd in life will usually do just that, go no further than following the crowd. But the person who is willing to break free and be bravely different will find themselves in places that they never even imagined possible. Remind yourself that you do not have to do what everyone else who shares your zip code is doing.
There are over 42,000 different zip codes in America. Imagine all the endless possibilities and opportunities that are out there waiting specifically for you. It is up to you to decide if you are willing to find that opportunity and start your own journey in paving your destiny.