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11 Realizations That Defined You Leaving Your Hometown

11 Realizations That Defined You Leaving Your Hometown

Leaving home was something every teenager yearned for, and every 20-something looks back on as a defining time in their lives. Overwhelmed with a wide range of emotion, this is pretty much what you came to realize throughout the process of life after hometown.

1. You can go somewhere without everyone knowing you.

Growing up, your family was involved in the community or neighborhood or some friend group. You knew this because you couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone who recognized you, at which point you had to conjure up your best no-I-swear-I’m-actually-happy-to-see-you face. After leaving your hometown, you had this strange feeling whenever you went out. Eventually you realized that strange sensation was feeling relaxed because you no longer had to worry about who you would run into at the restaurant.

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2. You had the power to recreate your identity.

No longer did you have to deal with people referencing everything about your life, from the time your mother was pregnant to when you accidentally spilled beer all over Sarah Marshall’s hair at the prom after-party (hosted by the “cool parents”). If you wanted to be the mysteriously quiet intellect, you could. If you wanted to be everyone’s favorite bro, you had the power to make that happen.

3. You were no longer associated with your sibling(s).

Rather than waking up to feelings of inadequacy because everyone expected you to be like them, you could now do your thing. So what if big sis was awesome at violin – you hated violin! This meant you could explore your own passions without pressure to live up to family’s expectations of what you should be doing.

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4. You had no idea where you were going.

It kind of sucked at first, when you arrived in your new city that you would’ve thought was awesome if you could actually find anything in that town. And since you probably didn’t have a GPS back then, and certainly weren’t using Google Maps, you basically spent the majority of your free time driving around aimlessly trying to figure out where the heck the nearest coffee shop was.

5. Your past didn’t matter anymore.

At last, at last! Thank God, you were free at last! No more avoiding Michelle because she knows what you did last summer. Forget all the mistakes you made going through puberty. Let’s face it, there’s a large part of your growing up that you always wanted to forget. And leaving your hometown meant leaving all those painful memories behind.

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6. You get new first impressions with everyone.

It’s cool that you didn’t have to worry about running into people you somewhat disliked everyone you went, but now you had to meet new people. Which means you still had to go through that whole I’m-smiling-because-I’m-supposed-to thing. Except at this point the stakes were even higher, because if you didn’t make a good first impression, who were you going to hang out with? Who were you going to date? Who were you going to go with to the mall or semi-formal? Which can lead to our next point.

7. You felt kind of lonely.

You took a massive dose of culture shock going from knowing everyone to no one, and that left you feeling a bit down in the dumps. Even though you were ready to leave home, you were comfortable in your hometown. You knew the people, the places, the back roads, which restaurants had the best deals on which nights. Now you just… you… well, you did nothing, because you didn’t know many people yet, if any, and you felt way to awkward scavenging your new terrain by yourself. But it did give you plenty of time to think.

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8. Your future is now however you wanted to define it.

You felt incredibly refreshed by the idea that you could do whatever the front door you wanted, and nobody could tell you otherwise. But then that freedom became overwhelming. What were you going to do? How is a teenager supposed to figure out what they’re going to do for the next sixty years? Friends and advisors didn’t help you with this debacle, and the only one that seemed to understand you was your pillow. And chocolate.

9. You realized you actually did need your parents’ help.

Sure, mom and pop were intrusive, annoying, infuriating, demanding, and every other negative adjective your angst-ridden self could muster. But after leaving your hometown you came to realize that hey, maybe they did know a thing or two about this crazy, messed up existence we call life. You started talking to them again, asking them for advice, and after several years of being in a new place you finally admitted there was no way you could’ve made it without them.

10. You got punched in the face by the outside world.

You did more growing up in your first year away from home than you did the rest of your life up until that point. But even though you learned a ton, it wasn’t necessarily the most joyous experience. You realized the world, despite the magnificence it holds, is basically the corporeal version of a menopausal psycho’s mind. Eventually you came to embrace and thrive in the world that terrorized you.

11. You actually kind of do like your hometown.

You came to grips with the fact that you wanted to go back and visit your hometown. You wanted to see your old favorite spots, and see how your old friends had changed, and enjoy your mom’s fantastic home-cooked meals that you didn’t realize were so freaking good until you spent the last week of every month eating cheap noodles and frozen pizzas. You realized you love the nostalgia that comes with your old stomping grounds. And most importantly you realized that your hometown really was a pretty great place to grow up.

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Kenneth Burke

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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