Overlooked facts of settling back to your hometown after years of living alone

what is there to go home to when you don’t have things to be busy doing? alternatively titled : when you realized you might not have a life in your hometown anymore.

I’m writing this 3 months post of my graduation from university( ish). this was a partial truth. yes i did my final thesis defense, no i have not yet have my graduation nor my written proof of diploma.

Since the pandemic, everything now is either postponed, cancelled or being changed, and that includes my graduation. So instead, we did a virtual graduation ceremony. You know the one where we paid roughly the same amount of money to NOT get our graduation cap ( i’m pretty sure it’s only my uni’s case coz they’re petty as fuck), stare at our screen for hours to wait for our turn, then take a 15 seconds instagram story of the screen, saying “ my graduation ceremony!” even if our face barely made it in the corner?( yeah that one).

As much as i understood the need to adjust to the new normal, allow me to rant about my university lack of management in handling the graduation. the one i particularly found very upsetting is the delay of ceremony ( even the virtual one) and the proccess of our diploma. Some students who graduated last December (2019) have not even had their ceremony and diploma yet, and this is almost the end of 2020. Let alone the rest who had their thesis defense exam on march-july ( including me). I’ve sympathized that yes, due to the pandemic, everything and everyone needs time to adjust to the new situation. However does “adjusting” really takes up a whole year of delay? not to mention, the fact that we are paying a great deal amount of money to not get even a graduation cap is outageous. If we even do the ceremony virtually, which only means we are the one who provided the laptop, internet and everything else required, what are we even paying our money for?
- end of rant.

so yes, i have been settling back home for the past 3 months now, after technically living alone in another city for around 4 years. There are pros and cons to this, since i’m technically still unemployed. pros : 1. will very rarely in need of money for food and shelter since i have both free back home ( also free wifi! the most important thing to have in this pandemic other than mask), 2.is free to do basically whatever i want ( yes watching korean drama and reading a bunch of books is what i meant, though i prefer referring it as personal healing time), 3. spend personal time with my family ( even if most of it i spent it arguing/ in our respected rooms alone), 4. have the time and means to experiment more on cooking and baking! ( my 2 fav hobby that i didn’t have the privilege of trying often when i was living alone coz im poor). However those pros dont come without cons, and the more i stayed home, the more i’ve learned that there are these overlooked cons that i discovered as i’m settling into my life back home.

The first fact ; i dont actually have a life in my hometown anymore, not the one i had at least.

i know, that doesn’t really makes sense at first. ( read till the end, it’ll make more sense…i think). I practically lived here my entire life before i moved out for uni, and my whole family and friends are here. it’s home, and I don’t know if I’m able to explain it thoroughly with words so it makes sense, but that’s just it. the person who lived here is the person i was, up until i moved for college, and those 4 years have done me quite some changes ( good ones thank god). The me that I am now and the me that I was at the beginning of 2020 was not even the same person, let alone in 4 years of time. And yes, I get it when people moved out from their home and live alone, they undergone some changes and it changed who they are etc I get that. But in my case, I don’t even think change would be the proper word to explain it. If there’s a word to describe a 360 degree complete transformation, that would be a word i would use.

I’ve come to learned that usually when you change, you attribute new things to your character, it only makes sense because you learned new things, you meet new people, you traveled to new places, hence you are not the same person as you once were. But I think at least you ought to still have some of your old interest/ habbit and character, even if you picked out some new principles along the way. Though i’m not confident that’s my case.

Fact number two ; i actually have VERY few friends that i can connect with back home.

I’ve always told my friend in uni that the me that I was at uni, is different from the me that I was in my hometown ( this was even years before I graduated). no it’s not bipolar, it’s just sometimes I felt like I lived on a 2 very different realities.( excuse the dramatics). Me in general — the way i carry myself, the things i spoke on, my friends & the conversations that we had are very much different from the ones I had in my hometown, with no intention of saying either one is singularly better than the other. But sometimes I ponder on the thought — why do I even do that, and which one is the more like the actual me. At first, i regconized it as me conforming my values & principles so that I could still keep up with conversations and friends I had in my hometown. But as years go by, I kind of grew tired of it and give up on that, so whenever I go home, I tend to just….stay home. ( which is kinda upsetting because most times, part of the reason I want to go home in the first place was to hang out with family & friends).

However, I wouldn’t say I don’t have any friends in my hometown that at least I could still keep up with conversations wise. I still do,it’s just….rapidly decreasing. I’ve found myself several times in the past where I was in my home town& wanted to be out or just get a coffee, where I struggled finding companions.( i know this sounds pathetic, i dont know how else to put it lol i’m introvert sue me) but I did struggle. Occasionally, the very few friends who I still managed to hold conversations with were either also studying in another city, or they were very busy. This, however used to be avoidable, since I rarely visit home and was happily living my uni life in other city.

But once i graduated, it’s another different thing. Since most of my friends are a graduate as well, they’re now understandably busy doing their own “after graduated stuff”. not to mention most of them- if not all, are a science major ( doctors& dentistry — yeay for my mental health), they were extremely busy & hectic with their own schedule. So it’s quite hard for me to make plans to meet & grab a meal with them,( in contrast to my life back in uni, it would be much easier if to say i need to find any friend to get coffee with, even at this very moment.)

Fact number three, pandemic and my family; not a great combo.

Another thing, since the pandemic, my family have been super super paranoid about going out, or just me being outside of the house ( understandable), so I mostly spend my days at home with them. I wouldn’t exactly describe my relationship with my family as distant nor close. I loved them dearly and missed them when i’m away, but I do have major differing values between me and my mom where quite often, conversations at breakfast could lead to an argument in no time (no disrespect to her as a person& the fact that I love her still). But to be honest, staying home all the time with my family doesn’t quite capture the ideal living setting I would imagine for myself ( considering I’m 22 and highly valued personal space)

Fact number four : My mental state is like a worn out rollercoaster ; a mess and not yet caught up with the present.

Not that I couldn’t, nor minded going out alone, but after being couped up at home and not having many human interactions for a long time since the pandemic, my mental health was a bit shaky, and by bit i meant very unpredictable. i have very few good days and a lot of bad days with extreme distinction of the two. When i have good days, i felt like i could overcome anything and felt super motivated, but when i have bad days, i stayed in my bed (most of the time not moving and staring blankly at the wall — you’d be surprised of how many hours i could last doing that), crying without reason is also an often occurence. Like i said; a mess. I often was overthinking & hesitant to go anywhere alone ( which to those who know me, doesn’t sound like me at all because i actually enjoy spending time alone, be it staying inside/ going out). Instead i often find myself reminiscing the old times& scrolling through my phones with memories of my life back in uni.

When did i realized this?

I guess at the end, there is no turning point where I knew I felt like I no longer have a life in here, more of a gradual feeling that deep down I know is a long time coming ever since I left home for uni. It’s like i’m leaving the person& the life i had before I left home, and I could never channel her again. ( excuse the dramatics). eventhough I practically have a home, my family, and my very few friends, lately i just don’t have other excitement in my hometown other than….staying home / occasionally went out to eat outside. I think, mostly it’s due to the lack of things i could actually enjoy doing ( since i no longer have my study, and still technically unemployed). what is there to go home to if we don’t have things to be busy doing? All of my plans and goals for my future are not set here, which is both, scary and exciting ( lately its been more scary than exciting). I’ve realized as much as it is a sad thing, my hometown and these times for now are some kind of a transition phase for me ( i refer them as intermissions of my life).

“The more we grow up, it’s often to grow out of the people we used to surround ourselves with.”

I think it’s similar in that way. Only this time, I didn’t only grow out of my friends or the people in my life before uni, I grow out of my life here in my home town. For me, my home town is now simply where I was born & where i grew up in. sure i have my family and my memories here that i cherished so familiarly. But other than that, it’s not where my life is, nor where it will be heading.