I’ll never forget my first night of college and how totally at home I felt going to sleep in a tiny cinderblock room with a roommate that I kind of knew from high school but not very well. Of course, like any first year student I was nervous/excited about the prospect of being on my own for the first time ever. I remember talking to my Mom on the phone that first week and her tentatively asking how I did that first night, and if I was “adjusting” well to being away from home. I hope my answer of, “I’m doing great!” didn’t hurt her motherly heart too badly. As soon as I stepped on Elon’s campus I knew I wanted to go there – it just looked how college was supposed to look in my mind, all that brick and those white columns and green trees. I found my home away from home.
The next major move in my life was to California after college graduation and this one was just sort of implied. After all, I’d spent two summers there during my time at Elon, I majored in Media Arts and Entertainment, Los Angeles is just the place to be if you’re going into the industry. So without really looking anywhere else for jobs, even though NC and GA both have a fair amount of production going on, I made the cross-country move. My dad flew out with me, I shipped my 2007 Honda Civic and I’ve been here ever since. It was basically a now or never type of situation, after all why would I not go? I was 22 years old and all my friends were moving too, my boyfriend was already there, having graduated a semester early, it was time for my next great adventure. After two years of Los Angeles living I’ve gone from living with a roommate to living on my own in a one bedroom apartment, I feel myself progressing down this “real world” life and it’s made me stop and think, is this really the place I want to build my future? Is Los Angeles it for me in the long run?
It’s crazy the day of college graduation when you sit and listen to a keynote speaker, cross that stage, throw your hat, go to dinner with your family and then realize you’re staring over the edge of a gaping abyss and somehow you need to figure out how to start living your own life. I think because I knew I’d end up in Los Angeles, I didn’t even consider the fact that I could have moved literally anywhere in the U.S., hell even the world. Of course I wouldn’t have wanted to be so far from home as to move over to London, but hey, there are definitely worse places to spend your twentysomething years. As I’ve progressed in my career and relationship with my boyfriend I’ve found myself thinking a lot about life’s possibilities. Sure I’ve had a great time in LA for two years, but who’s to say I wouldn’t have just a great of time in Seattle, or Nashville or Boston? There are so many places I’d never imagined moving and I’m slowly realizing that since I can support myself, I can go wherever I damn well please, and honestly that’s a bit overwhelming. What it really comes down to is deciding where I want to live, where do I think I would be the happiest. Honestly, the easiest choice is obvious, although it wouldn’t have been right after college. North Carolina, the little town I grew up in, the one I couldn’t wait to get out of is suddenly becoming more and more appealing. Being able to see my family more often than once every four or five months sounds fantastic to me right now. Maybe it is just homesickness, but maybe it’s something deeper. Maybe we all get so caught up in the idea of wanderlust and striking out on our own, that we can’t recognize when something might have been meant to be from the beginning. Going back to where we came from doesn’t mean we failed, it doesn’t mean we didn’t get out and do the damn thing, it means we made an informed decision about what’s best for us. While I’ve had fun, and learned my way around Los Angeles, my feelings about this city aren’t even close to how I felt my first night at Elon, knowing I was in the right place for me. So how about you my fellow twentysomethings, is your home where your heart is?