From a small-town in Coastal Mississippi to Lala Land Los Angeles, it’s been quite the journey.
I was born and raised in an extremely small town along the southern coast of Mississippi. A 4-way stop kind of town. The kind of town so small that you pretty much know who lives where, what type of car each person drives, where they work/go to school, and who all of their exes are (and likely the exes of their exes, too). The kind of town where you’re guaranteed to run into at least 3 people you went to high school with during your trip to the local grocery store. A town so small that even after graduating high school, the hometown baseball games and Friday night lights are the highlight of the week. Mud ridin’, huntin’, fishin’, horses, cows, and chickens – it’s a simple, quiet little life. A town that doesn’t have much to offer from the outside looking in, but still somehow feels like “home”.
Anyway, you get the point. In a town this small, people don’t usually leave… and if they do, they don’t wander very far, and they typically end up coming back. Leaving is something I’d always dreamt of. Though I’m blessed to have been raised amongst a large & very loving family, I always felt like I needed to get out – even if only for a bit – to figure out who I truly am by escaping the place I’ve always known as “home”. I had all of these goals & dreams that were just seemingly boxed in by the limited opportunities my tiny town offered me.
Though it isn’t uncommon, it may sound silly to some. Do I really need to move thousands of miles away from everyone I love to figure myself out? Why can’t I simply just travel or vacation somewhere to gain a new perspective or sense of self?
Why is that?
What’s wrong with me?
And how, exactly, does one reach their destination if they’re not quite sure what it looks like or how to get there? If there’s no road map – no direction – how does one reach the desired location?
If I knew, I’d tell you. I’d spill all the secrets for free if I had them because I know just how mind-boggling all of this can be. I know how paralyzing it can be to your ability to make decisions & stay committed to them. All I know is what my personal experiences have been throughout my life’s journey & that I have this undying, gravitational pull from my intuition that I am meant to share some of it with you.
I left home with no plan, no savings, & no idea for what was in store for me on this journey. All I knew is that I needed to go while I still can. While I’m not married. While I don’t have kids. While I’m not tied down by other temporary sources of happiness in this little town. So, I left. I did it.
And allow me to be the first to tell you just how incredibly difficult it has been.
I won’t go into detail about falling flat on my face financially (what did I expect, right?), how overstimulating a big city like LA can be, how lonely a lot of people are out here, or any of that stuff – that’s another story for another time that I probably most definitely will write about at some point. On the flip side, TONS of amazing experiences have unfolded in my journey – but I feel called to share the real stuff that most people don’t talk about or share online. The not-so-glamourous parts about our efforts to enhance our lives because despite what most portray on social media, we all know that life isn’t always rainbows & butterflies. For now, I’d like to focus on the MOST difficult part of this process because I feel like I can either help someone or maybe someone else can help me.
For me, the absolute, most difficult part about moving 2,000+ miles away from my hometown has been family.
I haven’t stopped missing them since the moment I stepped onto that airplane with my one-way ticket & 3 suitcases packed full of all the belongings I could travel with. Not to mention the guilt that comes along with leaving, especially being the oldest sibling in the bunch. Sure, “there’s amazing technology nowadays that we are so lucky to have” (yes, I understand this – & I also understand that there are people out there with worse, more real problems than this – which is why it’s taken me a while to even consider publishing this article, but nonetheless it’s a topic I’d like to hear about from others so here I am), but it just isn’t the same.
The birthdays, the ballgames, the impromptu dinner at your parents’ houses, the spontaneous trips to the store with your siblings, being there when someone is sick, & so much more. Not to mention my very best friends are still there as well. I miss it all. Since moving to LA, I’ve only been able to travel home to visit once or twice per year. Yes, I can see the pros & cons of this – but when I sit back & think about the fact that I’ve only been “home” a handful of times since moving 1.5 years ago, it really, really blows my mind. It makes me question whether or not I’m “doing the right thing”.
I understand that in life, sometimes we must make sacrifices to achieve our goals. But on another hand, I am also faced with the reality that there is nothing on this Earth worth sacrificing precious moments & milestones with my family for. No amount of success, site seeing, money, finding myself, or any other temporary, Earthly thing is worth sacrificing the ability to make memories with my family or very best friends for.
My youngest sibling is turning 8 this year (yes, I am the result of a teenage pregnancy lol). I have three young nieces & one nephew (2 of which are newborns). I feel I am missing out on so much back home nowadays. Missing out on moments & milestones that I can never get back. My grandparents are only getting older (g-parents, if you’re reading this, I mean this in the kindest way possible). Some of my best friends have kids that are like my own.
So, why then, is it so incredibly difficult for me to think about going back? Why is it difficult to think about leaving LA? Sure, I’ve found “my people” out here & that, itself, would make it harder to leave, but at the end of the day, I’d choose my family over anyone & everyone. So, why can’t I “just go home”? Is my work here unfinished? Am I on the brink of attaining this career I sought out? Or am I clinging to a goal that could potentially take decades to achieve all while sacrificing this precious family time? And even if/when I reach that point of accomplishment, will it matter if I’ve been missing the people I love most?
The clock is always ticking.
Is all of this really worth the ultimate sacrifice I’m making?
Here’s where it gets even more interesting…
On the flip side, my family (& close friends that I consider family) is what drove me out here. My family is what motivates me to reach for more. To think outside of the box. My family keeps me going. They are the best part of who I am. My family is what makes me dig deep & work hard to make sure that all of these sacrifices are worth it.
When talking to my friends out here in LA about it, I can’t help but reference feeling like Disney’s own, Moana. Conflicted by my own desires but knowing deep down if I push through to the other side, I could potentially change everything for myself & for my family back home. I just love them so much. I want all of their wildest dreams to come true… & I want to help them make it all happen.
But oh, how my heart constantly longs to be with them.
And how not having them here makes the hard days even harder. I miss having the ability to drive to my parents’ houses or siblings’ houses to just hang out & catch up after a long day.
I miss having something other than myself to worry about. (This is something I’ll go into more detail about in another article about living in LA)
In conclusion, I’d like to know if anyone else out there has any advice. Who else has been through this? What did you end up doing? Any regrets? Would you have chosen differently? I want to hear all that you are willing to share. Even if you can’t relate to this directly, but maybe you have something to share regarding this, I’d love to hear it!
I feel myself reaching a turning point in my life. Maybe I already know the answer, but maybe it also helps to heart it all from someone else.
Life is short, live it.
2 thoughts on “The Hardest Part About Leaving My Hometown”
I will give it to ya. That is a brave move moving away from everything you know to follow your dream.
Thank you, Justin. It most certainly hasn’t been easy, but I’m working very hard to make sure it’s worth it! I hope you are doing well. 🙂
All the best,