Okay, the emotional pitch of that allusion may be a tad overdramatic for what I’m actually dealing with. I’m not leaving my traditional home to marry a communist who’s been exiled to Siberia. But I did leave my hometown, and it is my favorite song from Fiddler on the Roof, so it’s my title.
It’s odd to leave the place you’ve spent practically all your time at 28. If I had done it ten years sooner then maybe it would feel more natural. But to commit 28 years to one familiar place then leave… I’m joining the game awful late and I don’t feel properly stretched.
I don’t think I’m homesick. I don’t want to go back at all. But I do find myself doing homesick-like things. I didn’t use to be social. I used to cancel plans about 60% of the time just for the sheer thrill of laziness. But now that I know I can’t just go out and see a friend whenever I want I find myself calling people- on the phone- having conversations out loud- it’s unlike me.
I don’t know the streets here. I’ve been driving on the same streets for 28 years and now I have all new ones to learn. The stores are different, the landscape is different. Different is everywhere. I don’t hate it. For real, I’m not homesick… I’m disorientated. My parents have lived in the same house since I was two and I’ve always lived less than thirty minutes away from that house. I have never had to acclimate to something so unfamiliar before, so it’s the acclimating that’s unfamiliar.It’s like living your life with one color scheme, all browns and yellows, and then suddenly waking up in a world of greens and blues.
I’m making this place sound way more exotic than it is, by the way. I should be clear – I’m in Delaware.
But still, Delaware is different than Dallas and, like I’ve said, I’ve had so little different up until now. It’s not communists in Siberia but it is grad school in the Northeast and I find that just exciting enough at the moment.
I meant to leave sooner. My plan was never to get stuck, I wanted to travel, I swore to myself I would travel. That’s the other part that feels odd. Isn’t 28 a bit old to finally start doing the things you swore you were going to do when you were 8? If this were the middle ages I’d be dead by now!
Grad school has been my dream. A dream that seemed totally unreachable when I was struggling through community college ten years ago when I should have been leaving Dallas. Now the dream is here. I’m here. It doesn’t seem real yet. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time getting to this point. I feel like a phoney that will at any moment be recognized and laughed back to Texas.
But I am here. I’ve signed a lease. I’ve updated Facebook. There is no backing out now.
Better late than never, I suppose.
(Seriously listen to the song, you’ll cry.)