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18 Going on 30

Lafayette, Indiana is  where I’m from and for 26 years it was my home. When it came time to college I never really considered going anywhere else other than Purdue University in West Lafayette, and despite being strung along I never considered leaving my stations before getting my first full time job. However, once my career got started and I finished my degree it was time to leave home and do it on my own.

When I lost my job in New Mexico and had to move home for what turned in to seven months unemployed, it was quite humbling. There was definitely a stretch where I thought I was done with radio. I learned from mistakes at my previous radio job and it made me better for VFX. When I got that call and moved away I vowed to never have to make that move home again.

Since I drove across the country at the end of 2016 I only went home one time, August of 2017 for my brother’s wedding. Going home, being at home was something was the mark of a failure to me. I wanted to strike out on my own and find success somewhere else. This year I turned 30 and that week I was heading home to celebrate my oldest sister graduating high school, only the second time since I moved to Utah.

Now of course I wasn’t dreading going home, I was happy to see everyone and visit some of my old places, but of course it wasn’t going to have any effect on me right? Besides being old right, because my oldest sister was graduating high school, with my youngest due up next year. Lafayette was the place I wanted to get away from and stay away so this was just a brief visit and nothing more.

The truth is avoiding home as avidly as I have been is ignoring a big part of me, where I’m from and cutting off a big line of inspiration. Watching my sister graduate provided clarity on some of the things for my future was thinking about. Despite having an idea of what I wanted to do and being logical and calculated about it I couldn’t really figure it out. Just being at home, back on my old campus provided the inspiration and clarity to figure it out.

A lot of the things I’ve figured out in my life have been by trial and error. I didn’t think I was going to be in radio but took a few cracks at it, even being fired, but ultimately found my career. I didn’t finish my first major choice and even took seven years to finish college. Dating was the exact same thing, trial and error until I found who was right for me. Being home though provided clarity that I couldn’t figure out just trying to calculate and measuring the pros and cons.

Last week’s Drop the Mic podcast asked the very simple question, do you feel like an adult? For me, I didn’t. I felt like a lot of the things I do now are things I was already doing just on a bigger level. Bills, my job, planning for my future are all things I was doing in college I just know better now and have more control over it.

Turning 30, and doing so the same week my sister graduated high school, put me in a reflective state. Leaving my 20’s made me look back at my life and think about how things have gone. Of course I have regrets but the clarity I realized was that 20-30 was about figuring out what I wanted to do; relationship, finishing school, career, answering all those tough questions. Now for my 30’s it’s about doing those things better, about improving all the things I figured out.

Charlamagne tha God, who runs the biggest hip hop syndicated show from New York is from a small town in South Carolina and says whenever he is struggling he heads home to his childhood bedroom and finds his clarity reconnecting with where he’s from. Coincidentally, I happened to read his biography where he talks about that right after I got home and experienced that for myself.

I definitely think you should leave home, it made me a better and stronger person, but ignoring where I was from was a huge mistake. No matter where you go or how successful you become your hometown will never change. Just a few days home, and busy ones at that, still provided me with clarity and inspiration to sort out a few big things to come in my life. Despite turning 30 just a few weeks ago, going home made me feel like I was 18 again with so much in front of me while still having the knowledge of the life I’ve lived.