I jumped on the opportunity to leave my hometown the second I could. It was the moment I was waiting for; the moment I could finally live somewhere else for the first time in my life, ditch my same old routine and evolve as a person. I could not wait to get out of my hometown, meet new people and begin a new chapter in life.
But after being gone for a couple of years, there are some things I realized I appreciate a lot more about my hometown. I realized it is not as bad as I made it out to be back then. Since I returned home, I came up with a list of things I appreciate a lot more than I did before moving away for a couple of years.
A home cooked meal is right around the corner
In my house, we did try to eat as a family at the dinner table while I was growing up. When you go away to college and live in a dorm, someone is always making food for you, but not in the way you are used to. Between dining halls and restaurants, it is just not the same as a great home cooked meal, which made coming home even more special on the weekends and after college ended. Do not get me wrong; it was satisfying when I lived off of campus and made a meal for myself. But there was always a craving for a meal at home whenever I was preparing a meal or had to grab a quick bite before my next meeting.
The best restaurants are the local ones right down the road
Here is a quick shout out to Corning, NY, and it’s local restaurants. The town is full of great restaurants that I did not appreciate as much as I do now. From great pizza at Aniello’s and Atlas to a pasta buffet at Sorge’s to a fish fry dinner every Friday at Pierri’s Central Restaurant (This is actually in Painted Post, NY, but it is still really close to where I grew up), I crave this local food now. It is rare that you will see me at a chain restaurant because I know I am going to get better quality food locally. What is even better is there are some newer places to eat at, such as, Cugini, Hand and Foot, and Tossed, that I am glad I can experience now.
There are FUN things to do
I used to be SO bored and said my town had nothing to do, but I realized all you have to do is make the most of it and open your eyes. It is not a big city, but there are good places to go to hang out during the day, as well as, night. There are safe places to go for runs and walks, classes you can take at art and dance studios to try new things. Since I returned home, I found a great Zumba class, a couple good running/walking routes, and I am looking into taking a new language for fun. I am not bored like I use to be and love that I developed a new outlook on this town.
Wegmans is close by
One thing I learned while being away is you miss Wegmans like crazy if you don’t have one right down the road like you are used to. Shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart and Price Chopper just is not the same because both stores did not spoil me the way Wegmans does. It is just an excellent spot to meet, see almost everyone you know in one visit, and buy good quality organic food, which is why I appreciate it a lot more than I use to.
Sometimes the career you’re looking for is right under your nose
I use to think I could not work in my hometown because I went to school for a big city job. Yes, a majority of PR jobs are in the major cities, but through networking and research, you might be surprised at what you may find. It is important not to get discouraged and to open your eyes to the possibilities that you did not think existed. You cannot pass up an outstanding opportunity that could turn into a great career decision just because it is in the town you did not think you would come back to. Sometimes life surprises you.
You get to hang out with your family whenever
I am the kind of person that is very close with my mom, and whenever I get to spend a day with her, I make the most of it. It is not something I could do a lot when I was away, so we always made sure we had days together whenever time allowed in both our busy schedules. Now that I am home it’s nice just to grab a bite to eat, head to Target & TJ Maxx, and hang out whenever we want. Also, I get to be present at more family dinners, which I enjoy because that kind of time is a precious thing.
In life, we take a lot of left and right turns, we go up and down small and big hills, we hit a few bumps, and sometimes along the route, we return to where we grew up. It may not be our final stop, but it can be a major one. Sometimes we need to leave and then return to truly appreciate all of the good things we overlooked for 20+ years (which if you think about it is a long time not to notice the great things right in front of us). You may stay in your hometown for the rest of your life after being away for college or a job, or you may not, but either way, it’s imperative to know how to appreciate where you hail from.
So, it is OK to return home, and it is OK to find exactly what you were looking for in the place you least expected to.
This post was originally published on Nov. 11,