I’ve never been more aware of the process of growing into ourselves as I have been during these first weeks in my hometown. And it’s been quite a walk down memory lane.

When I was 30 my husband told me he wanted a divorce. There were many reasons why it would’ve been easy to leave the small city I lived in more than a thousand miles distant, and return to the city of my family. In fact, my mother pleaded with me to do just that. I never said “No.” I just said “I can’t.”

Deep inside I knew that the best thing for me would be to build my own life from scratch. To make my own way. To become the person I was meant to be, not someone my family expected me to be. The thought of returning to my hometown scared me, to be honest. Yes, I was running from some things, but I knew I was meant for a different life. I just didn’t know what it would look like. (Nor did I know how hard it would be, at times.)

So that’s what I did. I stayed in my city. I had a disastrous (but relatively short) rebound marriage and that propelled me to California, where I built my entire life from scratch. And grew up, making a few mistakes along the way. Slowly, those experiences shaped the person I became. The woman I am today.

It’s now 40 years later and I’m back in my hometown, building a second home. Just about every day is super-joyful. I embrace the family and friends back in my life in a way I couldn’t have decades ago. Just how much has surprised me.

I am ready to be “home” again, at least part-time. That’s because I am already formed. No one’s expectations matter to me but my own.

It’s bittersweet, too. My parents are gone and some doors are closed. But on balance? Growing into myself has allowed me to embrace and enjoy the experience of going home again. I am more than ready for the peals of laughter that I’m experiencing as I fully appreciate the people, places and things in my life here.

And under these circumstances, I highly recommend it.

See our beautiful gifts for healing and grief, here.

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