07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Monday, April 15, 2013

Confession: I was wrong. You can go back.

My true confession? I confess that I was wrong when I moved away from home thirteen years ago. Now, I
don’t regret my experiences of the last few years, and I have certainly enjoyed living in Oregon, one of the most beautiful states in the union. However, my reasons for leaving were probably wrong-headed, and my belief that I would never go back has been proven total fallacy, given the fact that I’ve spent the last week moving back across the country. Back to where I started. Back home.

Born and raised in a relatively small town in northwest Indiana, I spent my twenties thinking that my hometown was too small to contain me. I had big dreams, big goals, and I needed to spread my wings and fly. I considered a couple of different states. Texas is big, so that seemed like a good choice. Oregon is beautiful, and something about the reputed vibe of Portland drew me in. After a trip to visit the state, I was in love and moved a couple of months later.

With a foolhardy and absolute belief that “everything would work out,” I packed whatever I considered essential and could fit into my Toyota Corolla. A friend I’d made in Portland flew out to Chicago and helped me share the driving burden as we traversed the country back to the west coast. Within a week, I’d found work through a temp agency and soon had my own apartment. The years flew by and, for most of those years, I was determined never to move back to Indiana again. The very notion felt like a step backwards.

In the last couple of years, I experienced more personal challenges than in my whole life put together. Losses and the death of family members, dashed hopes, and a complete recalibration of life goals caused a change of heart in me. I visited home last year and the year before and began to see, not just what I’d gotten away from, but what I had missed. Cousins seemed to have sprouted like the corn stalks that grow so plentifully in the Midwest. Family members had gotten older, and I had missed out on so many holiday get-togethers, cookouts, and thirteen years of birthdays.

It was surprisingly easy to make the decision to return to my hometown, even after so many years of insistence that I wouldn't  The actual moving part wasn't easy. It was much harder to go back than it was to leave, but I feel that I've come back for the right reasons. And I acknowledge that I might have left for the wrong reasons. I was wrong to think I would never, could never go back. You can go back, and sometimes it’s just where you’re meant to be.

Did you leave your hometown or is that where you'll always stay? If you've left, would you ever go back?


Judith Ashley said...

Christy, So glad your trip home was successful...would love to hear about how things went with the cats in the car!

I did leave my hometown/state in my mid-20's and moved from Oregon to Ohio to live with my husband's family while we found jobs, etc. To say I was a stranger in a strange land could not be overstated!

Very long and involved story later, I moved back to Oregon, back to my hometown but then I moved to another part of the state about 5 hours away from family. That was a good decision. When I moved back to my home town the rest of my family had moved to other parts of the state. In later years I've been grateful to live in the same city, as my parents aged and died. So much easier to be involved in the doctor appointments, hospital and nursing home visits, etc. when you live across town!

I've been in my home for 37+ years and plan on staying here until I die.

Thanks for a thoughtful post...

Sarah Raplee said...

Hi Christy,

I wasn't born and raised in any one place, and for the first years of our marriage, my husband was in the Coast Guard so we moved every couple of years.

When he took a civilian job, we put down roots in Iowa and stayed for twenty-one years. We planned to retire there.

Then he got transferred to Portland, OR. We've been here four years and plan to stay, but i would never say we won't go back to Iowa, as you never know what life will bring. Home is where you make it.

D. McCollum D. McCollum said...

I don't really have a home town. My family moved to a lot of different places while I was growing up. The longest I ever lived in one place was after I was married. My husband and I lived 20 some years in Grass Valley CA. We moved to OR to live and take care of mom. So I guess Grass Valley is my home town. Do I miss it? Yes. Would I ever move back? Maybe. I like Bend, OR too. As Sarah said, never know what life will bring.

Maggie Faire said...

I'm so glad you have returned to your roots and have found them comforting. I believe home is a combination of geography and family. If family has stayed in one place, the geography certainly plays a huge role in the lifestyle they live.

I was raised in Southern California, though my parents were originally from Oregon and were married in Corvallis. We visited often as children. When I went to college, I went to Humboldt State--about as far north in California as you could get. So far north, it felt like Oregon. I always thought Oregon was my true home.

My life took me to many places to live in our country: New York, Washington D.C./Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, Oregon, and Ohio. In the meantime, my parents moved back to Oregon, my aunts and uncles moved back to Oregon, two of my sisters moved to Oregon. And 12 years ago, when I had the opportunity I moved too. I love it here and I agree it is one of the most beautiful states in the country. For me, though that beauty is enhanced tenfold because of family.

I hope you continue to find the lifestyle of Indiana and being close to your family to be a truly wonderful and spirit-lifting life change.