When you move out of your parents’ house for the first time, you start to acknowledge a new feeling that you’ve never had up until that point. Going home is never the same again. It’s still “going home”, but it’s not really home anymore, otherwise you would still be living there. I’m not really sure how everyone defines home, honestly. To me, it kind of has multiple meanings. I mean, “home” can obviously mean the place that you live. In it’s most basic form, that’s what it is. But the place you grew up in can also be considered home. I’m not sure why we use the expression “going home” like that, since once you no longer live there, it’s not really home anymore. Or maybe home is just the place that feels the most comfortable with the people that feel the most comfortable. Maybe home can change for you, or it might be hard for you to define. And when you say “home”, do you mean your house? Or the city and state that you live in? To me, Indiana was once home. And as far as the city that was home, well I’d just say Indianapolis. I lived in towns outside it, but it’s all really Indianapolis to me.
Then I moved. Not just across town, but across the country. To a new state and city, somewhere I’d really only visited a few times and not seen all that much of, really. Moving to a new state is a very unique experience, especially if it’s not within an easy driving distance of home (see, there’s that word again). Living somewhere where you have to “fly back” somewhere to visit family is something you need to adjust to. I mean, that adjustment includes learning your way around a new city, adjusting to a new environment (and possibly new climate), making new friends, and possibly having a new job, among other things. But it also includes another new feeling… that feeling related to “going home”.
I made my third trip back to Indianapolis last week. I mean, obviously I’ve been to Indianapolis plenty of times, but this was only my third trip “back”. Going “back” to Indianapolis is very different than just going there. It’s not my home anymore. And I mean that both figuratively and literally. I live in Arizona. And Arizona actually feels more like home. Sure, there are plenty of memories back in Indianapolis. And honestly, I love going back to see friends. Being on the other side of the country makes you appreciate the friends you don’t see every day or even every month even more. I’m grateful for the popularity of social media, as it makes it really easy to continue to be a part of people’s lives every day, even from hundreds or thousands of miles away. But the place I belong now, is Arizona. My every day family and friends are there now. My boyfriend. My dogs (aka kids).
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about going back is the reactions people have to you being there. Some are positive. Some are excited to see you and get the opportunity to spend time with you while you are only there a short time. Others are negative, maybe even a bit resentful. Oh sure, they spend time with you. I mean, because that’s all they get. You are only there a short time, and they have to take what they can get. But ultimately, you left them. You chose something else, somewhere else, besides being with them. And that’s the attitude they pass on to you while you’re there. They might be happy to see you, but that is overshadowed by the fact that they know you’re just leaving again soon. How do you respond to those people? I’m not sure I know the right answer to that. Short of giving them what they want and moving back, is there even anything you can do to make them feel better?
I enjoyed going back. I enjoyed seeing people that I’d love to see more often and even reuniting with some that I’d gotten disconnected from. It was fun to participate in the lives that I’d been following along with on social media for the past year or so. And to those just frustrated that I wasn’t there long enough or that I left in the first place, I have to just say “sorry, not sorry”. I sympathize with you, but I have to make the best choices for me. The choices that make me me. The choices that make me feel at home. And Arizona is my home now… where I love, feel loved, and am happy. I hope you feel the same for you, in wherever you might call home.
I believe that not only can we not control other people’s feelings about us, we’re not supposed to because of that fact. Perhaps it would help to understand that people react negatively in this way (likely) because of hurt and because they haven’t developed strong relationships with others around them for one reason or another. Once understood, we are more able to not take it personally and can try, when possible, to help with the deeper root problem.