The Power of Your Relationship With Home

I have been recently enlightened by my family life and have realized the neglect I’ve given it. Like most college students when I was sent home last spring; I was back in my childhood bedroom surrounded by my old life like never before. 

 

I don’t know about you, but when I entered college as a freshman I was thrilled. I loved my hometown but I seriously put it on the back burner when I threw myself into college life. It became my vacation spot for holidays and breaks; when I returned, I would excitedly reunite with everyone in town but would soon turn my back and not think about it again until the next vacation occurred. I was blinded by my investment in Roger Williams and all the sparkly opportunities that came with it.

 

When we were sent home, I was forced to look around a little bit, take in the sights and smells. I grew a deeper connection to the beauty that is my hometown and all the feelings it brings me with all the love that is there. The fact that my parents, my brother and I probably won’t sleep under the same roof like this again after I graduate was hard to ignore. 

 

And then when school opened up hybrid in the fall - I turned my back and ran right back to college with admiration and excitement. 

 

Why do we do this? Why do some of us put home, along with everyone that loves us on the back burner and dive into the excitement of college without a second thought?

 

I took a step back recently when I came home for Easter.

 

Being open to the beauty of my hometown has really made me swoon. I think we often forget how interesting and unique and lovely and true our home lives really are when we enter the world of college. Freshman year, to some degree were all made the same. We come from all our different unique towns and lives and schools and sport teams and cultures and people and we come together to all live in the same shitty dorm rooms. We all use the safe shitty water pressure. We all eat the same food. Walk the same walks. We all are unified in our lifestyles to some degree - we all get the same treatment! It’s so intimate and exciting and fun and different but we definitely put our hometown life in our back pocket and jump into college. 

 

But what I’ve realized since then is how wonderful my individual upbringing really is. Something nobody I met at college could ever really see. Of all the friends you make at college that become family, they still could never have been to your hometown with you as you’ve grown and become the person you are today. They didn’t ride the bus with you or try out for the team with you, they don't know the first guy you kissed or how funny your PE teacher was. They don’t know how the ride home felt after you won that game or to cut class on Friday and go to that concert. 

 

There’s something special and irreplaceable about where you grew up and all the people that watched you become who are you. The house you live in, the car you drive, the mail man who always waves at you. The chipping paint on your front door, the smashed window from a baseball game that hasn't been fixed since. The 2 minute drive to your bestfriends house. The cheap breakfast place that your friend's dad owns. There is no hiding in a small town, your family and all that makes up you- it is out in the open. It creates a humble open-ness and a connectedness that can’t be replicated. 

 

Coming home from Easter I kinda was like “whatever.” But when did I decide the magic of this place wasn’t as urgent as the magic of school?

 

I think as we get older we realize our unorthodox childhoods are actually the coolest, most unique and interesting thing ever.

 

My parents run a business. And their headquarters are my backyard. My dad built a big red barn and planted it right in the back of our house. Ever since I can remember I’ve met a new person every day. My backyard was a lively business setting from the time I was born to now. The chaos feels like home. If you look to the left, you’ll find another business, my brothers. Beaming with cars going in and out and people walking left and right. Young and old, handshakes and highfives it is a whole community right outside my window. 

 

Going to college made me realize how unorthodox this really is. The fact that I’ve never known a quiet house. I’ve never waited for my parents to come home from work. I’ve never really had dinner before 9pm. I showed up to the Junior Prom pictures not knowing if my dad would show up in a BMW, a toyota, a truck, a limo, a G-wagon, dirt bike or a school bus. (He works on people’s cars). My friends would laugh and make bets of what type of scene would unfold knowing my family and their shamelessly eccentric lifestyle. The spontaneity, randomness, craziness and fun was all in a day's work and my friends and family knew the unique lifestyle that I had. 

 

I’m not saying there isn’t magic at college, I’m saying there is different magic at home. An irreplicable magic. There is history and humbleness and nowhere to hide in your hometown. Everything is bare all, and it makes things all the more honest and true. Maybe I’ve learned to take it off the back burner and appreciate it’s real beauty.