There comes a time in life for every bird to leave the nest. For some, it doesn't mean flying too far — a few trees or forests over. But for other birds, it means packing up and flying far, far away, leaving all that's family and all that's familiar behind. And what separates the adventure swifts from the homebody doves? Is there something innately ingrained in the soul that makes some circle the nest and others search for new branches? Or is it nurture that shows us our horizons?
I grew up in a small town about an hour outside of a big city. Because of our proximity to the city, which we referred to as "the real world", there was a certain direction that life in the town was directed; you grew up and moved out. The unanimous goal, throughout childhood, was to eventually leave town. Our horizon drew our eyes across the town and through the trees and toward the tall buildings in what seemed like the abyss. Sure, some people stuck around and enjoyed their life close to home — after all, a small town can provide a wonderful quality of life, for some.
But if you decide to leave your hometown because your heart longs for something other, make sure you leave on good terms. Spend some time really seeing the place you grew up for what it is and what it was to you. Do a mental inventory of your experiences at home and your expectations for away. Here are nine things every woman should do before she leaves her hometown:
Visit The Places Your Associate With Your Childhood
Where did you most feel like a child? Was it on the slide at your town park? Was it up in a tree in the woods behind your school? An old dance studio? Go back to the places that made you feel like a kid. Notice everything about these places. Remember the way the light fills the space, the way the bark feels on your hands or the way the paint chips on the walls. Remember the smell. Remember the sounds. Bottle it all up and take it with you wherever you go.
Take A Picture, It Will Last Longer
Take a trip around your town and snap some pictures. The place you had your first kiss, where you went when you were sad, your favorite hang out, your favorite barista, take pictures of it all. The next time you come back, it might all be different.
Thank Your Teachers
It might seem unnecessary, especially if you're fresh out of high school, but go back and thank your teachers. Let the ones who inspired you know, it will mean all the world to them. One day, you might need to reach out to a teacher, for a recommendation or reference. It will be much easier to do if you've put some time and gratitude in.
Clean Out Your Closet
Don't leave your childhood bedroom a mess. Go through all of your things. Make sure you properly preserve and organize the things you want to keep and get rid of what you don't need. Don't save every stuffed animal and fashion magazine, but do pick out the ones that are meaningful to you, you might want to share them with someone else one day.
Tell Someone You Love Them
Everyone has unfinished business. Finish it! If there's someone who you think is great and you've always been scared to tell them, do it! Leave people with positive little pieces of you. It will mean more to them than you could ever anticipate.
Spend Quality Time With Your Family
We spend most of our childhood and teenage years asking our parents for things. They become ATMs, unofficial doctors, tutors, guidance counselors, launderers, cooks and therapists. Before you move out of your parent's home, take some time to get to know them a little better. Instead of asking them for things, ask them about themselves. About their lives, their feelings, their hopes for the future. You're not the only one about to go through a huge shift in your life. Having a child move out and away is a big deal for both parties involved.
See Your Pediatrician
Before you leave your hometown and find yourself an adult doctor, go see your pediatrician one last time. They know you better than anyone. Talk to them about anything that's been bothering you. They might be able to help you connect the dots. Ask for a copy of your medical records, you'll need them one day and it will be helpful to have them handy.
Learn About The History Of Your Hometown
You probably don't care all that much about your hometown. Maybe that's why you're leaving. But before you do, do a quick Google search or take a trip to the local library and do some research on your town. Chances are, something interesting happened there after all. It's good to know these things when you head out into the "real world". Maybe a famous inventor was born in your town. Maybe George Washington stood spent the summer there. When you meet new people from your new town, it will be nice to have a reference for them when telling them about your old town.
Bury A Time Capsule
Find a few things from your bedroom that you can spare, maybe a duplicate photo of you and your squad, a CD you loved, a letter you wrote your crush and never sent, a menu from your favorite restaurant. Anything that might make you smile when you dig it up in 10 or 20 years.