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Why You Need to Leave Home to Find Yourself

“Leaving home in a sense involves a kind of second birth wherein we give birth to ourselves” -Robert Neelly Bellah

Home. The house you grew up in. The place that holds all your secrets and memories. Your family. Your pets. Your childhood. What happens when you leave? Two weeks ago, my older brother, one of the people I am closest with, packed up and drove across the country to Sedona, Arizona. My brother stayed home for college and lived at home until this point, when he and his girlfriend decided to move because of jobs and wanting to be out west. Selfishly, I didn’t realize until he left that I thought he would always be around, one bedroom door down from me for whatever I needed. I wanted him to always be a constant at home. I looked forward to everytime I walked through my garage door and knew he was going to be there. But, as children, and as humans, we need to grow and find ourselves. And this means leaving home. Naturally, his departure has me reflecting on my time away from home and what leaving means to me.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” -Pema Chodron

I left home for the first time when I was going away for college. I knew I always wanted to go away for school, it was something my parents and I knew would happen. Despite knowing what I wanted, I was never prepared for the growth, self-discovery, pain, and suffering I would endure from leaving home. Sure, it was the classic ‘leaving home and going to school’ hardship of making new friends, being in a new place, and not knowing if it was the right decision to go away to school; but in reality it was so much more than that. I went into my undergrad path with a confidence that I knew who I was, how college would be, and that I was mature enough for anything. And boy was I wrong. I was the most immature, not grown up, confused eighteen year old there was. I was thrown into a pit of self-doubt, loathing myself, and a lack of self-love and self-respect. Freshmen year for me was a series of hating myself, loneliness, confusion as to what I was doing, and questioning what I was doing living away from home. I barely had any friends, or a life for myself at this new school, and I knew I wanted to transfer–as if that was the answer. I was knocked down. Emotionally I was on the floor and I needed to pull myself back up.

“Some steps need to be taken alone. It’s the only way to figure out where you need to be.” -Mandy Hale

Living away from home the first year of college proved to be the hardest thing of my life. Why did I need to be away from home to go to school? What was I getting out of being away? These questions filled my head for months when I was away, until something changed. I came back sophomore year of college and something clicked. I had grown up a little more, matured, and realized I was away from home for a reason. Through school, my clubs and teams I was a part of, and fitness, I found a part of me and someone I didn’t even know. Who is this girl? I was a different, happier, confident person who had found her place outside of her hometown. Being away from home made me grow into a more mature, responsible, smarter girl who was able to figure things out for herself and meet personal goals. For someone who avoided exercise most of my life, I surprised myself becoming a spin instructor at school and even branched out and started writing for Her Campus. I surprised myself with my drive, motivation, and ability to thrive away from home on my own. My hometown became shinier from far away, I had a better relationship with my parents, my strained friendships got 100 times better, and life became brighter. I realized that’s what it felt like to be growing into my own person–into the adult I was supposed to be one day. Suffering through the loneliness of freshmen year and the yearning for my home and my family made me a braver, better person. Being alone and away from the comfort of your hometown allows you to learn so much about who you are as a person and mold your life to what you want.

“Life is about creating yourself.” -George Shaw

In the end, life is about creating yourself–not always finding yourself. Leaving your home, where you grew up, will create the rest of your life. It will mold you into a strong, brave person and you will figure so much out about who you are. Taking the journey alone, in a new place will give you all different insight and give you new opportunities that were unimaginable before. The world is such a big, beautiful place with so many open doors, but you must be willing to give up home for a little while in order to find yourself and these new opportunities. And even though I’ve been heartbroken about my brother moving across the country, I know that he is set off to find himself the way I’ve found myself away from home. It’s a life changing experience, and I’m wishing him the best of luck. I am so excited for him to go on his own journey, because even though it’s a painful experience at times, there’s nothing more exciting than finding yourself. Figuring out who you are and what you want. And at the end of the day, your family and the door back home will always be waiting for you; just like I’m waiting for my brother to return home soon.

“Chase your dreams, but always know the road that will lead you home again.” -Tim McGraw

Living every day to the fullest and trying to change the world
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