There are more than a handful of 20-somethings that leave their hometowns for college, and then move to a large urban city to start their professional careers.
They have no intentions of moving back. Their hometown is where home is, but also where the past is.
I was one of those. I moved out of my suburban town for college, and then moved to New York City for the next four years to start my professional career. I had the best years of my life in those two cities.
However, all things come to an end, and most New York yuppies are transient anyways. Thanks to some fun-employment and guilt-tripping on my parents’ part — I found myself reluctantly back in my hometown, living with my parents.
It’s been a year since I moved back, and I feel I gave an honest shot at loving this city.
Sadly, I feel regretful for not finding happiness being here.
It’s an unsettling feeling to feel like you don’t belong where you grew up. You find it difficult to connect with your old friends. You don’t feel at peace where you parents want to retire to, and have you around.
I envy people who love living here because, so far, I have failed trying.
I have had plenty of downtime this past year which led to some self-exploration. That being said, I have to be honest and own up to my feelings.
I concluded that there are several valid reasons as to why so many other millennials feel the exact same way. I feel like an outsider.
Studies have shown that our brains are much more influenced by the specific locations we live in than by the abstract idea of being stuck.
Here are a few reasons why your hometown isn’t for you:
You Aren’t Connecting With Your Old Friends Anymore
After moving back, I’ve attempted to reconnect with old friends from school; it hasn’t been the same.
It’s not that they’ve changed, it’s that I’ve changed. Things feel frozen in time.
One you move out, your perspective changes.You realize how routine your friends’ lives are, and the lack of diversity in activities and ideas around you.
Your inability to connect with friends who never left home, may be that they don’t see the value in leaving. Certain personality-types are more likely to move away, according to Inverse.
Highly active people have a higher tendency to migrate.
Social people choose to move to urban locations.
Very emotional people are more likely to move away from their home. They may not move too far from where they are from, but “the fact that they do not move often or selectively to urban locations indicates that people with this personality trait move simply because they are not content where they are,” states the Association for Psychological Science.
Your Town Is Full of People Much Older or Younger
Looking around me at the nearest restaurants, grocery stores, malls and gas stations, I don’t see many people in the same stage of life as I am.
I don’t know where the other lively 20-somethings are.
According to Nexdoor app, for my community, 68% are homeowners and their average age is 53.
I am either too old or too young to be here.
The majority of the people I work with are much older than me, and many have sons/daughters my age — who don’t live here anymore.
Overall, my city of full of parents or children, but not single adults.There’s nothing to do here
The biggest question is: are you bored because you are boring, or is your hometown just boring?
It’s easy to blame your hometown, when the problem might be yourself.
Maybe you aren’t finding creative people to bounce ideas off of. Maybe you’re not meeting intellectuals who question everything. Maybe you no longer have access to trails to hike, and find it harder to find places to clear your mind. These factors all add to your experience in your hometown.
It is harder to meet new people in smaller cities where there isn’t a culture of networking or making new friends. This may be because there aren’t many newcomers, to shake up the existing culture of the town.
That being said, I have joined Meetup communities and made friends through Bumble BFF. I have met some young and friendly individuals so far.
However, the vibe is undeniably different from what I am seeking, and much has to do with the city accommodating the average resident. The culture of a community can be shaped by how the majority choose to live.
Your Standards Have Changed
After moving from four years in the City, my palette has changed. I no longer like the greasy Asian fusion restaurant I would frequent with friends every week. I crave authentic Sichuan food, which is not as easy to find.
Even concepts such as what constitutes as a successful or educated person have changed. You’ve got a different idea for what is a good salary, what is a rich person and you constantly stop yourself from making a comment, when someone endlessly boasts about how well they are doing.
You also feel that your concept of what features are attractive in a person, has changed as well.
None of these are your fault — but these are the circumstances. You have a different perspective, and it’s different from the people around you. That is why your experience in your hometown is going to be completely different from your neighbors’ after you move back home.
You Feel You Aren’t Doing Justice to Your Sense of Self
You feel that you could be enjoying life more, elsewhere.
Maybe it is because of what you crave — people, career-opportunities, food, weather or scenic views, aren’t available to you here.
Sometimes your career aspirations do not align with your hometown’s infrastructure. My first job out of college was in buying. Not only my first job, but my entire industry doesn’t exist here.
It’s as if you are forced to live a life, with more restrictions, should you choose to stay within the walls of this city.
That being said, I am not ungrateful about all that my hometown offers me. I have made plenty of great memories here — leaving here would be difficult as I enjoy coming to work every single day.
There is nothing wrong with choosing to live, at any point in your life, in the place you grew up. If you are happy where you are and feel fulfilled with your professional and personal life — more power to you.
There will always be Instagram stories and Facebook albums, where birthday dinners are happening at the neighborhood restaurant — the same spot for the last decade. There is almost a warmth to it. Of all the things around you that change, there is comfort in knowing that you can go back to who you were yesterday.
There is a sense of comfort in your hometown, that you can get after a long time of separation. Your hometown may as well be your favorite place — in a later stage of your life.
Maybe your hometown, like mine, is perfect for raising kids and retiring, but not for your 20s when you’re starting your career, meeting new people and looking for adventures.
We owe it to ourselves to get out of our comfort zones, if we feel that we haven’t tapped our full potential.
Leaving home never guarantees a better life. But if you are looking for a change and curios about what is out there, there is a chance that you’ll grow as a person and find something that you really want to do.
All you need to do is take a chance.