I have recently taken an unplanned hiatus from acting like my normal self and incase anyone noticed, as well as for my own piece of mind, I want to talk about it. It’s always been my aim every day to write in a way that is genuine and honest. But, I recently have become disappointed with myself. I think I have failed in one huge way but not telling myself or others the truths about how homesick I really am.
If anyone knows me even in the slightest bit, you would know how much I love Long Island, New York to a fault. You would know that the transition from New York to Florida was extremely grueling for me, and you would know I almost didn’t stay down there. Each year got a little easier, and I slowly began to fall in love with a new place all over again. DeLand became my second home, and New Smyrna Beach became one of my favorite places in the whole entire world. After wishing half of my time there away and countless hours of crying, the homesickness went away and I found myself at ease again. Four years in the making, I finally loved that place. At graduation, I left the people who made my heart full, a town that reminded me of home, a tiny beach town that gave me my best days, and my athletic career…all just to go to a new place. The comfort that I worked so hard to finally feel there, gone.
The first night I spent in Austin alone, I felt all those freshman year feelings again. I don’t love this place and I’m really not comfortable. It’s definitely not New York, and it’s not my pseudo-home in Florida either.
I have wanted to open up about this and I have been meaning to but I’ve found it very hard to get the words down. Writing about homesickness or any sort of feeling, for me, is extremely hard. I’ll be the first to admit, and anybody who I’ve ever been close to can vouch for me, that I’m absolutely terrible at expressing what is really going on in my head. This is for a couple reasons: 1. Even though I share so much of my life online, it is very much curated; I only share what I am prepared to and I skew it the way I want to. 2. I said it once and I’ll say it again, I am really not good at expressing my thoughts. Writing about my innermost thoughts is something I truly avoid because I think it really takes an art to make it good, clever, and relatable. I worry that the feelings I am feeling won’t fit my image, be expressed properly, or will make people dislike me even more. But now as I am feeling these feelings the most, I have decided the moment is now to swallow my pride and talk about what is really going on in this head of mine. Homesickness is a looming difficulty for me in Austin.
I meet a decent amount of people in Austin who are from Texas. In conversation, it comes up that I’m from New York, attended school in Florida, and am now here. Responses vary, but people generally say how I’m, “all over the place.” They always ask me how I feel about being so far away from my family and friends. I feel as though I’m crazy and alone in my constant worry about this. All these people I meet justify that through their reactions. Some people try to make me feel better saying that they are not close to their family, or better yet, some say how great it must feel to be on my own. I am envious of that feeling and those people who thrive on their own.
When I mention homesickness to my family or friends, they often tell me this is what I signed up for. I knew I was going this far away before I made this decision. I knew and I still know that deep down I would be fine, I was so used to being away from home while at Stetson. It’s not true to say that I didn’t think about all this before now or anticipate homesickness before I left. But, it takes countless missed moments such as Georgia Football game days, farmers markets on Friday nights in DeLand, my friends coming into my room uninvited at 1am, my boyfriend being only a 3 hour drive away, and beach drives at the drop of a hat for me to truly notice how far from my “old life” I really am. Now, I find myself fearing missing moments and ‘occasions’ ever since choosing to live my life out here.
I am worried now, as life moves on and I get older and the people around me get older, that these moments will become more frequent and more profound. I know this is a temporary move and I’m not here forever, but my anxiety is constantly arguing with me. Can I really miss all these things?
Sometimes, it’s really not the big things I even miss. It’s the day to day. The simplest pleasure in life is spending time with people who know you, like REALLY know you. Those who you laugh at the same things with and who love you despite of everything and because of everything. Those relationships I have with my closest friends are rare, important, and invaluable. Here, nothing comes close to that. Of course there are new friends made, but it can be slow and difficult. I know it’s my own fault because I have such a strong attachment to home, but they will never quite match up to my friends from Babylon or DeLand.
What it comes down to is really a choice. And that is the scariest part. Of course, it is possible to fly home for all these missed moments but it is really not feasible. I am in graduate school and I have priorities here like work and succeeding in my program. So sadly, it really is a choice between life here and being back on the East Coast for “the things that matter.”
My friends are always giving me sh*t because I always “hate where I am.” I don’t think any of them realize the extent of what I face. Some days, the most human interaction I have is checking in at Orangetheory. Sure, I could go out and make friends. I’m trying. But on the other hand, is going out on 6th street until 3am really me? No. It’s not. I’m an over thinker and a hard soul to get used to. Not many people enjoy watching The Last Song or exploring new places every day.
I feel like such a real brat for having this dialogue about such a first world problem that I don’t even really speak up to many people about it anymore. I’m ashamed I feel this way. Everyone thinks how spoiled I am. I am fully aware that I have a choice and I am so lucky to be at one of the best universities in the country in one of the fastest growing cities in the world. So many people do not have the luxury for one college education, and I am able to be working on my second degree. I am able to spend time in I am conscious of this. I know I how lucky I am. I know this isn’t the end of the world. Trust me, I really do know that or else I would have left and gone back to the East Coast already. I really do know that this isn’t the end of the world, but the feeling, the homesickness and the sadness is there and it is real.
If only there was an answer to this. A magic 1 hour flight that was $50 round trip between Austin and the places I love. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Then I could have both. But, there isn’t, and I can’t. And for now, it feels alright.
It’s a cliche but life really has taught me a lot of things so far. In terms of this often frivolous world of blogging, it has highlighted the need to be more sincere. I don’t want to pretend. Life is full of both great and awful moments, and to try to pretend it is perfect, which is something that happens all to often in this online space, is unfair and unrealistic. I am grateful that people, maybe like you, read this blog and find it helpful and inspiring for making the move. This gives me a great deal of fulfilment too. But, it is important to not only share the good parts of the journey, but also the difficult. There is so much about moving to Austin that has been hard and a struggle and this is something I want to bring into this space more and often and more honestly.
Austin really is an amazing place to live and I do feel so grateful that I have this opportunity. Who knows, maybe I can follow this post with something about how I conquered homesickness in the very near future. Or maybe I will be writing about how to move back to the New York after this year and not hate everything! I’m kidding, kind of. But really, I don’t know what the future holds, that much has been made totally clear. My mind changes, the world changes, whats important is being present and truthful. I’ll keep you updated!