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Have you ever spent time just wondering what it would be like to start over? To start a new life somewhere and have no one know your name, who you are, what you’ve been through? 

These are the thoughts I used to wonder daily. They would float around, a strange dream of something new and exciting. I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to run away, from people, situations, things, but most often the place I came from.

Back in January I finally had the opportunity to do it. I was offered my dream job in another city and without running it by anyone, decided I was taking it. I told my close friends and family, packed my entire life into two suitcases and got on a plane heading for a big city I had merely explored. It was finally my chance to start new, with no expectations, no plans. 

Fast forward a few months, the job was great, it was beautiful and amazing. Finally, I was catching myself saying things like “I could not see myself doing anything else.” I felt like I was finally at home, I had friends, plans, and “places”, not just touristy visits. I felt excited about my life in this new exciting city. That was until an outbreak came around, and this novel virus was spreading faster than anything anyone had seen in years. 

I was faced with new challenges that were suddenly ruining this idyllic life and an amazing new job. Soon enough, my entire company was laid off due to these difficult times, and suddenly my friends were returning to their own small cities, and this life that I had created felt like it was crumbling down around me. 

It seemed like my only option was to return home as well, to the small city that I’d worked so hard to leave. Still, thinking about leaving this big, cold city was so difficult, and I couldn’t figure out why. It took some searching, and I began to wonder. What was so different about “home” compared to the home that I felt here. 

I have realized, that life is easy to move around. Just about anyone can pick up and relocate, pack up their things and move on to someplace warmer, busier, or bigger. However, it won’t always be better, because places are not about the things that are available to you in them, they really are about the people. With the wrong people, any place can feel empty and alone. Leaving a place will never hurt until you’ve managed to find those people, grow your own roots, have something that you’re tied to.

Once you’ve grown roots, it’s going to hurt to pull them, to move on or move away. In their own way, it’s the same reason you should see the happiness in the situation, because of them you can smile and know that you have succeeded and made a life that you’re happy with. Without roots, there is no beauty, no growth, and it took a long time for me to realize that. 

Leaving where you come from is always slightly easier because you know you can always go back. You can always return, and things will normally fall back into place. It’s just where your natural roots will always be, always lead you back to. In the best of times, I would argue to fight that feeling and encourage you to step away from what you know, take the risk and allow yourself to grow in new places. Be vulnerable and remember that home will always be “home.” 

For the time being, I will take this as a sign to go back to my hometown, enjoy the place I came from and the people that have supported me, allow those roots to grow further. Some day I’ll be back in this big city, and I hope these roots will be secure enough to hold and grow stronger than ever.

–Jenn

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