Moving away from home is a lot like falling in and out of love. The only difference is, the falling out of love part comes first when you’re breaking up with your hometown. If you’re lucky, after the breakup, you fall in love with a new city and new people. Making the decision to move across the country a little over a year ago was the scariest and best decision of my life. I expected the first three months or so to be rocky – and rocky they were, but I didn’t expect the unpredictability of when homesickness would strike beyond that.
I’ve been feeling super disconnected from home for a while now. Since moving out to Colorado, I’m in the middle of my longest stretch of time I’ve gone without seeing my mom or dad, my aunt, uncle and cousins, my grandfather, and my best friends. I have amazing friends and family out here, and I’m thankful for them every day, but there’s something to be said for friends who have known you and loved you for upwards of 10 years.
I miss them so much.
Sometimes, on nights like last night, it hits you like a ton of bricks. Then it opens up the door to missing your mom and dad, your home, and everything you’ve ever known. Moving on is tough. It makes me realize how lucky I was to grow up in a place that was so wonderful and loving – a hometown where I met the people who’ve shaped me and raised me into the woman I am today. A hometown that still asks my parents about me and my brother, even after we’re gone.
Nobody tells you that being homesick feels very reminiscent of losing something dear. You can move on with your life and be happy in your new home, but in the back of your mind, or at the bottom of your heart even, you’ll always miss the things you know best – the people, the places, the familiarity, the love. You’ll miss going home to your parents every night. You’ll miss being able to see the friends who have been by your side since you were 10, 12 or 14 almost every day. You’ll miss arguing with your brother over who gets the television remote. You’ll miss walking the dog around the neighborhood with your mom. Mostly, you’ll just feel lost. You’ll wonder why the hell you ever moved in the first place.
And it’s like a wave you just have to ride out. There’s no cure for it – no amount of phone calls with your mom or best friends can make you feel like you’re at home again. It’ll last a few days, or a few weeks, maybe even a month, and you’ll go about your life in your new home. Most of the time you’ll love it and be thrilled to have this new experience at your fingertips, and some days you’ll just feel like you’re in a funk and not be sure why.
Last night I knew I had friends out here I could call and just say, “Hey, I need a shoulder to lean on.” Some of them are natives and may not know what I’m going through, and some of them are transplants like me who I’m sure know exactly what I’m going through. I know they’d be there if I called, but it takes a lot for me to be able to call anybody beyond my mom and a few other people. I couldn’t call any of them last night when I was having a hard time going to sleep – they were back home, and two hours ahead.
Riding out the storm that is homesickness is really hard sometimes. It feels pretty much like a heartbreak. If you’re like me though, you’ll cry yourself to sleep and wake up the next morning to a new day. You’ll get out of bed and go on with your life until something makes you smile or someone makes you laugh, and you’ll remember why you left.
For me, it’s the view of the mountains on my way to work. Through every snow storm, wildfire, cold winter, and scorching summer, they stand tall and grounded. Just like my mountains back home, they remind me every day that through thick and thin, so can I.