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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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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