I went back to my hometown for a family reunion last weekend. As I caught up with people I haven’t seen in a few years, talking about who has been born, who has died, who has gotten married or just marveling at young adults who were toddlers the last time I saw them, I had quite a few interesting conversations.
In one of them, I was asked if I’ll ever move back. After pondering intently for a millisecond, I responded. “No.” To which they said “Ahh. Familiarity breeds contempt.”
But that really isn’t the case.
My hometown was a very nice place to grow up. In the 20 years since I’ve left, it has lost population so that two rival high schools are now combined into one, it has lost businesses so that empty factories and storefronts seem to outnumber the ones still open and it has formerly majestic homes converted into dilapidated apartments.
I don’t spend too much time thinking about the decision to move away, because staying just never felt like an option.
It wasn’t because settling in a place whose heyday was 50 years ago would be a bad idea; I’d still have a good number of friends and family there.
I just felt that not seeing what else was in our great country or even this world would be missing out on the experiences life presents us.
When I was younger, I always wondered why people would think of moving to Alaska or why everyone didn’t move to Hawaii, but now I think I understand it better.
I imagine some people find the rugged wilderness a great way to become closer to nature, while others love a tropical paradise. But each location has one major drawback – remoteness. Even if I loved tiki huts or climbing glaciers, I’d hate to have every occasion to see family be during a reunion.
What I wanted to do was explore what else was out there, and then decide where to settle. I sure hope my children do the same.
While it would be great to have them nearby, I hope they go and have experiences away from home, in locations unlike South Carolina, and then live their lives wherever their heart takes them.
I want them to seek out the unknown and learn if it is what they like or not. Fort Mill is a great town, but I don’t want them to be content just because they know what is here.
I want them to see new places, meet new cultures and challenge themselves to try something new. In my experience, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, but it might breed contentment.
That isn’t always bad, but it also isn’t always good.
You can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about tiki huts.