Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coming Home

Who says you can’t go home?
There’s only one place they call me one of their own.
Just a hometown boy, born a rolling stone…
Who says you can’t go home?
Who says you can’t go back?
Been all around the world and as a matter of fact
There’s only one place left I wanna go…
Who says you can’t go home?
~"Who Says You Can't Go Home," Bon Jovi

Two weeks ago today, I drove my car out of the state of Georgia, leaving there little pieces of my life and eight months worth of unhappiness. Honestly, I couldn't drive my car fast enough out of that state. 

The last four weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I accepted a job offer with an international firm that has lead me straight back to my hometown and family. The same day  I accepted the offer, I gave a verbal two week notice to the university in Georgia, a written resignation followed the next day. After a flurry of packing, ten days later I watched from the front porch of my duplex as my grandpap and brother pulled a U-Haul with my belongings out of my sandy front yard. Fourteen days after receiving my job offer, I bid farewell to the few friends I had made and headed due north. Coming home never felt so good. 

The eleven hour drive home gave me the much needed time to move on. Driving north, slipping through each state, I could feel myself finally shedding the shroud of sadness I'd been wearing for far too long. I returned to my beloved home state and I haven't looked back. 

To say that I'm relieved my life in Georgia is over is an understatement. I am 100% ecstatic to be back in the Buckeye state. I'm surrounded by my family, am reconnecting with friends, and can once again find beauty in the foothills breaking the horizon line. Returning home has been incredibly healing for my soul and spirit. I feel like I can start dreaming again, something that I quit doing in the past eight months. 

I left Georgia with no regrets. When I accepted the job down South, I did so because it was an opportunity-- a chance to shake up my life, to do something incredibly different and out of character. I didn't want the opportunity to be a "what if." While there, I did make a few friends that I will really miss (and will certainly stay in touch with), but beyond that there isn't anything about Georgia that I will miss. I went, I tried, and it just wasn't a good fit.

Several months ago, Ashley wrote a blog post discussing the hardest thing she did when she left home to pursue her dreams of a PhD, and that was staying. Staying in her new state and trying to make it work. I read that post, nodding my head. For eight months, the hardest thing wasn't being away from home or making new friends. It was staying when it would have been so much easier to pack my car and drive home. I promised myself that I wouldn't leave Georgia without a job lined up someplace else. When that job was lined up, I boxed up my life in Georgia within two weeks and left, no longer needing to stay. 

Its no secret that I fell in a dark place when I was down South. I was regularly seeing a psychiatrist and taking a cocktail of anti-depressants to help even out my mood, helping me cope. I barely wrote, not being able to find the words to describe what I was feeling or going through. I've thought about trying to rehash it,to help others understand how hard the past several months have been but have since decided to leave the stories where they belong--in the past. 

Driving North to Ohio a few weeks ago, alone, was incredibly freeing. As I drove into Northern North Carolina,Virginia, West Virginia, and finally Ohio the mountains rose around me, then settled into gently rolling foothills, I knew I was finally home.