The other week, I stopped in an AT&T store here in Sacramento to get an iPhone 7. Because I’m a big, bad 26-year-old still on her mother’s phone plan, the person helping me told me I’d need my mom to swing by in order to authorize the purchase.
“Well, that’s not gonna happen, because she lives in Georgia,” I told him. We called her instead.
As we waited for my mom to give me authorization, he made small talk about the weather. I mentioned this was my first California fall and I was excited to experience it.
“Oh, so you just moved here from Georgia?” he asked.
“No, I moved here from Chicago,” I answered. “My mom just lives in Georgia.”
When I was finally ready to make the purchase, he needed my number.
“That’s an Indiana number, right?” he asked.
“Yeah, I grew up there.” I said.
“And so you went to college in Chicago?” he asked.
“No, I went to school in Nashville, Tennessee.” I responded.
It is kind of funny. I grew up in Zionsville, Indiana, which will always be one of my favorite places on Earth. I always knew I wanted to get out and explore though. When I was young, I’d read books about “big city life” and I wanted a taste of it. I fell in love with Nashville while I was at Vanderbilt, and I can’t imagine a better college town. It has the bells and whistles of a city, but the Southern hospitality makes it so much more welcoming than others.
I moved to Chicago for my first job, and I had a love hate relationship with the city over those three years. I loved that it had so much to offer, I love the people I met there, and I love the tough love it gave me. I hated the weather and, as it turns out, big city life. So I moved to California.
The other day, I mentioned to someone that I had no family near me. She asked me, “Do you ever get homesick at all?”
I thought about that. I’m not homesick for Indiana, because I don’t have parents or a childhood home there. I only spent four years in Nashville, and my college friends have long left that city. I’ve never stepped foot in my mom’s current house in Georgia, and I was very ready to close my Chicago chapter. Where would I be homesick for?
It reminded me of a quote from one of my all time favorite movies, Garden State.
“You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something.”
A couple of years ago, that would’ve made me sad. Today, oddly, it makes me really grateful. The people I love are all over the country, and now I have “homes” all over the country too. I don’t feel tied to a particular place, which just makes me feel even more excited to see where life will take me next.