I love people who love their hometowns. Because every hometown needs hometown lovers, right? People who love where they’re at, love being a part of their community and contributing to the community to build a future they’re looking forward to. It’s got to feel fantastic.
But what about when you don’t feel that way and you’re just kind of stuck in your hometown?
When I moved back from Glasgow, it wasn’t really a choice. I mean, I guess I could have stayed until I maxed out every one of my credit cards and loans*, but I honestly didn’t have long to go. A month, maybe two. So basically I was forced back. And since I don’t do well with being told what to do, I hated that I had to come back.
Don’t get me wrong – I was really excited to see my mom and all my BFFs again, but a huge part of me thought that when I left, I’d be gone for good (see: at least a handful of years – at least).** So in a way, coming back also felt like accepting failure or something.
So I fought it. I fought it hard.
Mostly I did this by only committing to a non-committal retail job and feeling really, really sad. The job itself was fine, but I was experiencing some serious culture shock: it was at a mall where I was always surrounded by people (which I kind of hate), and nobody had Scottish accents (which I really hate).
But I got tired of the mall scene really quickly (see: basically before the job even started), and I needed better pay, so when I got offered something in my field (writing), I jumped at the offer. It wasn’t long before my boss was talking about five-year plans and potentially leaving me to run her company, which was equally thrilling and terrifying. I started to wonder if I could stay here, in my hometown, for the “future.”
No. I couldn’t.
But in the meantime I made lemonade. Since I was working a lot from home, I could commit to this:
SIDENOTE: I know, you’d think committing to dogs would be way too scary for me, but it was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. And also a promise to myself that wherever I go, they will go.
Bringing Oscar and Lucy into my world was one of the best things I’ve ever done for many, many reasons, but for the purposes of this story, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done because it forced me to stay still.
That’s right. Suddenly I couldn’t just leave town or run away or avoid my real life, because there were two tiny creatures who needed me. ALL THE TIME. And when my writing job turned into a huge nightmare and I had to quit it, they were one of the main reasons I decided to throw myself into independent freelancing; I couldn’t afford doggie daycare five days a week, so I’d have to work at least part-time from home.
I could go on and on about how they changed my world, but essentially, they forced me to be responsible. Not that I wasn’t responsible before, but they held me accountable. I couldn’t (and still can’t) run away from what I need to do because I need to come home to them at the end of the day. And rather than feel tied down by that, I feel really excited about it, because they’ve also kind of forced me to be happy (see: they make me unbearably happy).
And being stuck in my hometown has really given me time to settle, assess, and form a game plan. It’s given me time to really discover where I want to end up. It’s given me the drive to push as hard as I can to get there. And it’s taught me something really important:
Sometimes you have to stand still for a while before you can leap forward.
Love where you’re at while you’re there or you’ll be a miserable cow, etc.***
*Instead of just 99.4% of them.
**I don’t know how I thought I’d fund that “gone for good.” Ah, the ignorance of youth.