New Old Surroundings

Bred into the military life, I have grown accustomed to moving every few years, so new beginnings are anything but foreign to me. Although, it is something I thought I had put to rest in my life. That is, until recently.

I am officially a college graduate and the proud owner of a Bachelor’s of Music. When I began this journey four and a half years ago, I fully intended to settle and start my life in Southern California. I loved the area and the people in my life, and I looked forward to the opportunity of keeping them as I never have before. But, of course, life changes, and you’re left with the options of changing with it or fighting it and being miserable. So, I find myself having to move home which just so happens to be on the other side of the country.

Award Banquet

My parents moved to South Carolina the same year I started college in California, so I’ve really only spent summers and Christmases there. But, being part of a nomadic family, I am used to calling unfamiliar surroundings “home.” Military families give meaning to the phrase “home is where the heart is.” As long as there’s family, there’s home.

The way I see it, I can treat this as any other move. I’ll worry about what I’m leaving behind, I’ll worry about making friends, worry about a new school (fingers crossed for that grad school application), and I can lean on my family for support. While these are all true, there is still something distinctly different this time around.

Maybe it has to do with my mindset in moving to California in the first place. I didn’t expect to have to move again. The voice of my high school guidance counselor rings clear in my mind saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” It still amazes me how applicable that is in so many situations.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a planner. I like to know what’s going on when, where, and why. Even if I have nothing to do for the weekend, I have plans to do nothing. However, that also means that I often plan not doing things as often as I plan to do something. If there’s something I don’t want to do, I will figure out a way to make sure it is no longer an option. Four and a half years ago, that was not moving back home.

As much as I love my parents and my whole family, I liked being on my own and I liked being in California. It never crossed my mind that I might have to head back east, because I didn’t want it to. In the end, I think that has made this move one of the hardest yet, and let me tell you, very few of them have been easy.

There are two ways you can look at new things: You can take them head on, accepting the challenge, excited for growth, and unexpected opportunities. Or, you can walk reluctantly backwards into them, staring back at everything you have to leave behind and will miss. Now, I’m not saying forget about what’s behind you. You should always remember where you came from and who got you to where you are. Keep significant friendships, please! It causes much more heartbreak for everyone involved when you try to distance yourself, believe me.

For me, I will look at my group of friends here and know how much I’ll miss our random hang-outs of not actually watching the show we intended to and instead deciding to talk over it. I’ll miss my apartment, my own apartment. I’ll probably even miss school a little bit. But I’m also excited to spend time with my parents again, in the flesh, and not just on Skype. I’ll get to spend holidays with the extended family that was missing during my childhood. I won’t worry yet about having financial stability or what I want to do with my life (well, I will, but not to the same degree). I’m excited for the security and comfort that comes with simply being home.

I suppose the take-away is value what you have, but also look forward to what you can get. Starting over is usually not easy, even for those with plenty experience, but you never know what good can come of it until it happens.

Other than playing with her over-active pup, Social Media Director Shelby Padgett has a number of passions including music, writing, and writing about music. She has completed her Bachelor's degree in the former and hopes to continue highlighting underrepresented girls who shred. She reads as much as she can, and especially loves the writings of C.S. Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and anyone else who can make art with words. She enjoys playing her ukulele, posting gratuitous pictures of her dog, collecting mugs, and green bean casserole.

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