woman in blue denim jacket and black pants sitting on gray concrete pavement during daytime

A Few Thoughts On Leaving Home

I left home about a year and a half ago.

The decision was made quickly. I had applied for a job, flown out to interview, and accepted said job all in a three-week period. To say it was a whirlwind of a time is an understatement. I packed up my entire life in a day (with much help, thanks to my friends). I mapped my route from Oklahoma to Northern California and absolutely sprinted through five states in a three-day stretch.

Moving away from home is one of the most exhilarating experiences that I firmly believe everyone should indulge in during their lifetimes. It teaches you things about yourself that you never would’ve noticed otherwise. It challenges you to grow with a new community of people unlike any you’ve ever met. It can also exemplify true and absolute loneliness at times.

All of the routines you had built up before are gone, the people you saw every day are 1,800 miles away and in a different time zone, and you find yourself slipping from the main character to some odd extra in the background. How did everything change so suddenly? Where do you fit in now?

Do you fit in here at all?

The truth of the matter is, you might not yet. You might not for a while, if ever at all. And that is just fine. Moving is tricky. It’ll make you stare dead in the mirror of who you thought you were and say, “Really? This is who I am? Have I always been this way?” But the beautiful part about this, my friends, is you get to decide how to adjust. You’re not around the continual influence of those you grew up with helping to steer your ship. Not to be cliché, but you’re the captain now. Own that. Be excited about it.

Not many people are awarded the chance to start somewhere new solely because they had the ambition and drive to do so. Leaving somewhere known for something unknown is a brave act—don’t downplay that.

I can tell you, a year and a half later, I still feel out of place sometimes. I still wonder if I make sense here. But I think that’s okay. I have people I love and places I’ve become attached to all over the world at this point. Home is less of a definitive place and more a collection of stories and secrets and memories scattered throughout all the places I’ve left my mark.

If moving has taught me anything, it’s to be wholly comfortable with being uncomfortable. Change is a constant that has to be embraced, and nothing will ever feel exactly as it did in the previous place. But there are new people to love, new places to frequent, and so many opportunities for personal growth and progress.

At this point in my life, I can’t imagine ever staying somewhere for very long at all. Why would I when I can experience so much new in this life? Why would I stay where it’s comfortable and similar when I can stretch and grow and learn?

I’ll leave you with this: If you’ve ever considered moving, but you haven’t because you’re afraid, know that that’s exactly the reason you should leave. Move because you’re afraid and you don’t know what’s going to happen. Leave home because you have no idea what you’ll do when you get to your new destination.

I promise you, it’ll be the best decision you ever make.

About the author
Good person, messy eater, notorious plant killer. Follow Shelby on Instagram or read more articles from Shelby on Thought Catalog.

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