I got a taste of living alone for a little less than a year while I was in school, and though that isn't really a lot of time away from home, it was definitely a big step moving away from my family for the first time. And may I tell you it ended way too soon. When I returned home after graduating, my uncle had lost his job and made himself at home in my room, my two younger brothers shared a small room where I had to make due with them for over a month and with over-bearing parents right down the hall, you can imagine it took a bit of an adjustment after having a year of solitary freedom.
Home is a strange in-between land where memories linger and new experiences that have molded us play for position with nostalgia and old habits. Let us strive to use the familiar as a catalyst for the future without being too hard on ourselves with the pressure to go out there again. Going home may be difficult and an emotional time. Let us take what we’ve learned as a lens to our history, finding lessons and filling in holes along the way.
Realize You’ve Changed While You’ve Been Gone
You learned more about yourself than you ever could have imagined, you experienced life in the best way and you have matured and grown as an individual. Your family might find this difficult to adjust to because all they see is someone who has now come back different from the young caterpillar they let go of in the beginning. Especially when they weren't there for the changes, and in my case, really on board with the changes. But trust yourself and trust your journey. Hold tight to the truth that you are your best advocate. This life you’ve been living? You’re doing a brilliant job, scars and all.
Realize Your Home Has Changed While You’ve Been Gone
Bring a perspective of gracious acts and gratitude home with you. Just as you’ve been on a journey that your family might not understand, they have been on their own journeys, too. Seek to understand their stories, and you may even find you are on similar paths.
Give Yourself Space and Time to Readjust
Don't expect to jump back into everything like you never left. In fact, you may find that old interests, possessions, and people you knew no longer add value to your life, and that it is time to let them go. Do so with a mind towards health, growth, and freeing up space in your heart for fresh things. Let the new growth take root. Take as much time as you need to learn what you need to learn. To find a new job. To heal your heart. To get as much of mom’s home-cooking as you can. To take as many camping trips with your dad as you can manage. To struggle with it all for as long as you need. To sit in the coffee shop where you wrote all during high school and to think, “I want to start writing deeper thoughts and poetry again.”
Use this free time, free rent, and free food to really think about what you want out of life. This is your chance to get everything back together and take a quick break after some rigorous college work and crazy adventures with friends. I have learned that being back at home after being gone puts you in a different perspective and gives you the chance to truly question yourself more. And now, after being moved out and learning about yourself and the outside world, you are able to ask yourself the right questions.
Don't Get Too Comfortable
This is a transitional phase. A time for you to either enjoy life and take a break without having to worry about responsibilities, have a job and save enough to really leave and stay on your feet for a while, or have this be a place to stay until you start school again or get married and move out with your love. Whatever you're transitioning into, make sure this is a transition stage. Your parents are great and it's perfectly okay to be back home after graduating but don't get comfortable and stay here forever.
And when the time comes, you’ll be able to say, “I went home. And it was difficult, it was beautiful and it is part of me. I learned, I grew, I spent my time wisely.”
Photograph from Tumblr