Maybe home is where the heart is, but it's not where your fullest potential is.
Despite the beautiful message we all love and remember from Crowley Corners of the Hannah Montana movie, it shouldn’t always be taken literally.
We leave home so we can figure out who we are and what we want.
Because home, in a way, confines you:
Your parents still think of you as the child you were at eight years old
Your peers define you as who you were in middle school or freshman year of high school
The extracurriculars you’re a part of define your social status
You can’t become who you are meant to be in a place that constantly holds you back.
I never thought I’d want to leave home. I was terrified to go to college. And don’t get me wrong, I still love my hometown, but college made me realize how cramped I was in my small corner of the state ...
In high school, I was known as a three-sport athlete and an innocent little sister.
And in my senior year, I developed an eating disorder that landed me in the hospital and off the basketball court. Because of that, I lost my sense of self. After that, everyone just saw me as the poor girl with an eating disorder.
When I moved into college, no one knew I had cried myself to sleep in a hospital bed every night for the last month. No one saw me as an athlete and only an athlete. No one saw me as ‘Caroline's little sister.'
Finally, I was my own person. I became the most confident and happiest version of myself.
Then I went home.
At first, I loved being reunited with my family and friends...
Until one day I looked in the mirror and only saw the version of me from high school, not who I was now.
With one look I was no longer the girl who blossomed in college. One moment. Suddenly, I was looking in the same mirror and saw her, an anorexic, insecure, sad teenager. The person I saw for four years; I slowly became her again.
I no longer cared about everything I use to; I had no motivation to read, clean, or work. Yet again, exercise and food became nothing but a game of numbers. Being home for so long made me lose focus on my future and spiraled me back into the past.
When I went back to college I was surrounded by people with the same goals as me. I was in a place where I only had good memories. In college, I continued to grow.
So, from my experience, you can’t grow from the place you grew up.
Now, I’m not saying to never go back to visit your parents, or that you can’t eventually settle where you grew up.
But there’s a time in your life you’re meant to be away from your past so that you can focus on your future; you can focus on yourself with no one else telling you who you are or who you’re supposed to be.
Take the time when you’re young to learn, explore, and travel. Educate yourself in culture and in people. Then, and only then, go back to your hometown. I guarantee that you’ll appreciate it a lot more once you’ve become your own person.