Not so long ago, I made the tough decision to move back to my hometown. After four years away at school and another two living in Philadelphia, the choice wasn't easy.
But, I eventually realized it was the best decision for me; I wasn’t even putting a dent in my student loan debt while working two jobs in the city.
When I secured a job back home, I felt both excited and scared. Change is hard for me. I would love to say things went smoothly and I made a graceful transition, but that wasn't totally the case.
See, when I lived in Philadelphia, it was a fresh start; there were no old memories, no running into old high school friends and no family drama.
When I came home, I quickly realized how much I changed during my time away and discovered some old skeletons in my closet.
Moving back home can be a challenge. People will talk. They will ask you about former boyfriends and treat you like the person you were before you left. Maybe you'll even start to act like this person. Old habits die hard, after all.
If you are thinking about moving home or are currently in the process of doing so, here’s a list of the challenges you may face and how you should handle them:
You’ll Run Into Everyone You’ve Tried To Avoid Since High School
Chances are, everyone in town frequents the same five bars, which means everyone you’ve tried to avoid from high school will be out and about.
Don’t get me wrong; running into old friends is a wonderful thing. But, those bitches you hated throughout high school? Well, they’ll be there, too. Not much will change.
My Advice: Smile and say hi. I promise it won’t kill you. Don’t fall into the old pattern of awkwardly avoiding people or holding old grudges. You have grown into a mature adult. Don’t let bad blood from the past dictate your actions in the present.
People Will Ask You About The Guy You Used To Date
With Facebook being so big and all, you would think people would get all the details they need online. But, while family and friends may know there was a breakup, that's usually not enough information. They want the nitty-gritty, too.
People will ask if you’ve talked to him and how he is, and they'll probably update you on any new developments in his life.
My Advice: Just remember that when you left, your ex was important to you. So, when people ask, they aren’t necessarily trying to hurt you. Politely tell them your ex is no longer on your radar and you like it that way. Then, change the subject.
The more you show people you've moved on and are doing okay, the more they will focus on the present instead of the past.
Your Family Will Probably Drive You Nuts
When I wasn’t living in the same town as my family, I forgot why I wanted to get away from them in the first place. I missed them so much, so I was extremely excited to be closer to them once again. But, once I got home and the initial excitement wore off, I realized many of my previous problems still existed.
My Advice: Family is family is family. They’ll drive you nuts, but at the end of the day, they’ll still be there.
Try not to fall into old roles, though. For example, if you had problems getting along with your sister when you were younger, it’s easy to keep that relationship going. But, would you act that way if she was a friend you just met? Probably not.
The great thing about going away and coming back is that it gives you some space and perspective. You’ve matured, so don’t let your past family role dictate your new one.
You'll Have Outgrown Some People
Remember that guy you used to hook up and party with when you were home on breaks from college? Or the group of friends you used to get trashed with? You guys had some fun times, right? Probably.
So, since they’re still attached to their beer bongs every Friday night, you should join them, right?
My Advice: When you were little, you may have played Barbies with Susie from down the street. It was a great time; however, you’ve outgrown that stage in your life. As much as you miss Susie, it would be weird to call her up to play Barbies.
Similarly, your hot-mess days are probably close to over. Some people will never grow up, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do so.
Only reconnect with people who are on par with your current standards and goals.
Nostalgia Might Get The Best Of You
You’ll pass by the restaurant you and your ex-boyfriend used to frequent. You’ll remember the days when you and your high school friends did stupid sh*t. Almost every place you come across will have an attached memory, which can be difficult.
My Advice: Try new places. Don’t spend so much time flipping through the pages of your past that you forget to have new experiences. Remember that moving home does not have to mean going back to old habits; it can be an opportunity for a fresh start.
Instead of lingering in old memories, make new ones with new friends. Take this time to explore new hobbies and new places you didn't know existed in your old town.
It may not be easy for people to realize that you’ve matured since you’ve been gone. People may not want to believe that during the past six years, you have changed, and they may not realize they've changed, either.
It’s a weird feeling when you realize that the old roles you used to fit aren’t your style anymore. It’s okay, though. Just take a deep breath and work on showing people the new you.