You proclaimed, “I’m going on an adventure!” in true Bilbo Baggins fashion. You’ve moved away from home. Maybe it was for work. Maybe it was for college. Maybe you just wanted to experience a new way of life. Things are exciting and new until, suddenly, there is a pit in your stomach and your eyes begin to water as you catch a whiff of a meal your mother used to make. Homesickness is a dragon. How do you go about not getting eaten?
Tame the Dragon, Don’t Slay It
Homesickness can be a difficult thing to overcome and it can be easy to try and forget about where you’ve come from to help get over those feelings. When I first moved to NYC, I felt a melancholy longing for home nearly everyday. I loved where I came from and while I was pumped to see what the city had to offer, I missed my friends and my favorite foods. I missed my family and the way my yard would smell after a fresh rain. It’s okay, even healthy, to embrace that. While it may be tempting to try and forget about the things you loved home, you shouldn’t. They’re part of you. The friends I had in Memphis, the community, the formative experiences I had there shaped me into the person I am today. It was the place I first learned to live and for that I owe Memphis. Don’t erase your origins. Instead, wear your origins with pride while you focus on creating roots in a new place.
Build Your Army
Often times when we first leave home, we feel homesickness because we aren’t established. Back home you had a community, familiarity, and a purpose that all stood the test of time. You might feel uprooted. That’s normal. Now that you’re in a new place, you need to look to the exciting opportunities that lie around you. Regrow roots by getting involved in activities, meeting people, and building up new social circles. It can be difficult at first, putting your foot in the door. However, the rewards will be exponential. Try checking out a club that interests you. If you’re in college, make use of University events that are designed to help you make connections. Talk with your RA, it is very literally their job to help you find community in your new home. If you’re not in college, explore the city. Find a bar or a restaurant you might like. Attend a class on something that turns your head. Building a new army of friends and getting involved in activities doesn’t negate the old ones you had at home. It just makes you a stronger person with a wider support net. It gives you stories to tell and you’ll emerge a master of two worlds.
Remember Your Quest
I am a firm believer that leaving home is one of the most important things that anyone can do. Regardless of your reason for moving, it widens your world view and helps you to exercise skills that you otherwise wouldn’t have had to use. Whenever you’re feeling homesick, try and remember what you’re gaining and how important that move is to your goals. Be proud of yourself, you’ve taken a step out of the door.
Sometimes You Need A Quick Fix
Some days can be harder than others and you just need something to pick you up. I have a ‘homesick’ playlist on my phone that usually lifts my mood. When making a playlist like that, fill it with songs that have meaning to you and reflect the time that you spent at home. It can be easy to fall into the trap of making a playlist of music about home. I’m from Memphis, so it’d make sense to throw a ton of Elvis on a ‘homesick’ playlist, but I didn’t listen to a lot of Elvis growing up. Instead, I filled it with songs that resonated with me, that I did listen to growing up. Doing the latter with make your playlist much more effective in helping out your mood.
To anyone who is battling the dragon of homesickness, I wish you luck! Remember why you moved and understand that it is completely okay to feel homesick sometimes. If you have any good stories about leaving home or additional tips, feel free to comment them. If you know someone who might find this post helpful, feel free to share it. If you enjoyed the post or got something out of it, consider following the blog and joining the journey!