My Home Town
By Stephen Doherty
Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave,
but never our hearts. –Oliver Wendall Holmes
I often wonder who made the better choice. Those of us who elected to remain close to our roots in our home towns or those of us who relocated to cities across the country? With the exception of a six-month stint in San Francisco in the late seventies, Aurora, Colorado has been my home since the day I was born. I live ten minutes from where I grew up and I’m quite certain I’ll draw my last breath within sight of my beloved Rocky Mountains. I can honestly say that I love this town and have had a marvelous life that is a reflection of the city. We both have undergone huge transition over the last half-century and yet somehow have remained loyal to our humble origins. The mists of time have altered the landscapes but they haven’t diluted a lifetime of recollections.
That said, I also know so many, MANY people that I knew growing up that moved elsewhere and have created fabulous new lives for themselves in cities across the country. Additionally, I have so many friends in Denver who relocated to my city from points all across the country–and now call Denver “home.” I’ve yet to find anyone who regrets leaving their home towns in favor of something new and different. The reasons for relocating seem relatively few and usually involve a job or relationship or family ties with a healthy dose of people merely looking for “change.”
Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters
in our lives won’t have titles until much later. –Bob Goff
The reason I’ve been mulling this over lately is that my twenty-two-year-old son accepted a job in Phoenix and will be relocating to Arizona in a couple of months. Like any parent, the thought of him moving away tugged at my heartstrings. The years went by far too fast and suddenly two states will separate us. Just as quickly though, excitement welled up in me on his behalf. Regardless of the circumstances driving geographical changes-who can deny the terrific opportunity and adventure that starting a new life in a new city offers? It seems an incredible chance to redefine ourselves and what matters to us, absent the mirror of the collective perceptions of our familiar peer groups. Too often the familiar can become a quagmire of consensus that stifles growth and intellectual curiosity. I know that the six months I spent in San Francisco wasn’t a long time, but it was incredibly liberating both intellectually and emotionally. It’s a breath of fresh air that any of us would welcome on occasion.
I guess I’ve answered my own question. There is no right or wrong answer. The life we live is the life we build regardless of location. Happiness and satisfaction can be impacted by our surroundings but rarely driven by them. No geography will compensate for the absence of health, family, and friends and any location can become a home with an abundance of all three. The one constant we all share is that regardless of where we end up–our hometowns will always be remembered more for the times and events they represented-than where they were on the map. Whether we live in our home town or on the other side of the world, our home towns will forever live inside each one of us.
When you finally go back to your old home, you find it wasn’t the old
home you missed but your childhood. –Sam Ewing