3 Reasons Why Leaving the Place You Were Born and Starting Over Could be the Best Thing You Ever Did
Since I was 15 years old, I wanted to leave Lansdale, Pennsylvania, the working-class town that fate chose for me to born in. It took me over 25 years to leave for good. When I made that decision, the journey called life only got better.
If you do the same, it can only get better for you.
- You learn other people’s perspectives.
When we live in one place our whole lives, we tend to only see from that vantage point. We tend to forget that a whole world exists beyond our little corners. I know being born in the North shaped a view of the South that was biased into my adulthood. I didn’t realize until I moved here how biased I was.
Those biases were based on television and film stereotypes I was bombarded with throughout my childhood. I rarely had contact with a southerner in my day-to-day life, so I had no way of knowing how diverse the South can actually be until I moved here.
Before that, I traveled here many times. When I took a southern solo road trip in 2015, I kept in mind that I am a brown woman who isn’t Christian roaming around. Of course, my fear didn’t stop me. The immutable truth about fear is, you have to face it to overcome it.
Seeing how kind people were to me on that trip, subsequent trips, and when I moved here moved me beyond focusing on any fear.
The way to do that is to move past your own narrative, your little nook, and to venture into someone else’s.
2. You may discover some deeper truths about yourself.
On one of many jaunts to Asheville, North Carolina, I saw living examples of who I used to be at different points in my life. Hanging out in a bar having a drink, I sat in the middle of two people I realized were different versions of me at separate junctures in my life.
The woman on my left was just sad and perfectly content to be sad. I’m a friendly person, so I tried talking to her. She oozed sadness, and, as the conversation progressed, I realized nothing I said was going to move her to be less sad.
The man on my right was just angry. He exuded really guarded energy and kept talking about things that pissed him off. As he talked about some of those things, I got the impression that he hadn’t fully worked out what he was angry about.
I used to be her. I wasn’t an overly negative person, but I dwelled on sadness longer than I should have at one time.
I used to be him too. I possessed a guarded energy at one time and was a hothead.
Seeing both these people on either side of me showed me I was no longer them.
They showed me I had evolved.
3. Sometimes, it’s the only way to grow.
At the end of 2015, I accepted Pennsylvania had run its course for me. If I stayed, I wasn’t going to grow anymore. The universe nudged me for a long time, and I finally listened. When you stay in the same place physically, you tend to stay in the same place emotionally.
Some people leave their countries for the same reason.
One of my friends moved to the United States from Panama. She told me she loved her country, but she wouldn’t have grown anymore if she stayed.
No matter where you live, it can get to a point where the same myopic view lingers in front of you all the time. You want to stop seeing it.
If you like the view, if it resonates with you, that’s great. When it doesn’t, it will stifle you, as it did me.
For me, leaving the town I was born in was the only way to go.
That may not be the case for you. You could be delighted with where you grew up. That’s fantastic if you are.
But if you’re not, or if you’re a little restless, I highly recommend it after we move out of the alternative universe of COVID.
Go past the horizon and see what’s there. You’ll be glad you did.