I got back to my hometown last week, on Wednesday, and being back has been kind of interesting. As you know, I’ve wanted to write about more personal things over the break, so I’m going to continue that today to talk about what it’s like coming home for me.
I’ve always been pretty vocal about how much I’ve disliked my town. The last semester wasn’t my best, so Toronto became an escape and a simple cure for every problem I had been going through. I left for university two weeks earlier than most just to get out, in the wake of a dramatic event involving police being called if I showed up at a goodbye party for my grade. Needless to say, I was ready to go, and had been since January of this year. Toronto has been a lot of things, almost all of which have been positive, but it’s all but impossible to stay away from your home indefinitely. Coming home has shown me a lot about myself, things that being at school has really changed for me.
I have a desperate need to stay busy. This matches my habit to over-think everything, and let me tell you, there is nothing worse. I’ve messed up relationships with people I cared a lot about because I’ve sat at home bored, with nothing else to do but think about why they’re not responding. It’s unhealthy in that it creates problems that were never there, and ended up with me being less secure in myself. When I came to Glendon, I promised myself I would not let that happen with anyone again, and it became clear that keeping my mind busy and involved was the best way to do it (I wrote about this before, point number four!). What did this mean? For me, I took advantage of Glendon’s size and got involved in as much as possible. Right away I started volunteering at Lunik, helping set up the new espresso machine and helping make lattes. After that, I joined Student Caucus to lend an input to the issues and challenges facing Glendon in the next few years. I ran for the local Student Union and got in as a First Year Representative. And, of course, I got a position as a student ambassador. All of this, not to mention my classes and social life, kept me at the point where I didn’t have the time to over-think my relationships and problems with people, and believe me, it was great. For three months, I was able to focus on a lot of my personal life without worrying about the social side and the drama still going on, something I really benefited from.
Coming home, however, has almost reversed that time period. I’m left, for two more weeks, a gap of absolutely nothing to do. The people in my town are no longer the people I want to grow closer to or party with; that role now belongs to my friends at Glendon. Losing the social side of my life wouldn’t be as big a deal if I was busy with my extracurriculars and classes, but instead I’m left with the shadow of my life six months ago – gym, Starbucks, home. A horrible triangle of boredom. It’s not that going to the gym and Starbucks isn’t great – really, a month of getting healthy would be a good thing – but it feels like there’s no purpose to it. There’s no motivation in this town, and I keep finding myself curled up by the fire with Glee on TV for hours at a time – again, fine every once in a while, but when it starts taking up most of your daily life, it’s just sad.
I told myself I would make the most of my time home and get ready for next semester, but without my friends that care so much about me and want to spend time with me as much as I want to with them, I just don’t have the heart or energy to. My family has never been a source for that motivation or happiness in the same way; it’s not that I don’t love them, but as a social unit, my value and happiness is placed almost solely on my friends. My personal happiness hasn’t been connected to my family life or my hometown for a while now; it’s been connected to my activity with my peers, professionally and socially.
When I sit here at home, it’s hard not to take out my frustrations on the people around me, being my family. It’s really frustrating to have been in a place that’s been so good for me for the last three months, a place that’s helped me mature and start to understand myself better, and then come home and be thrown into the same situation and atmosphere I ran away from. I’ve found myself sitting up worrying about the same old people and whether or not they’re going to respond to me, and even caught it almost happening with my new friends. Without anything to put my mind and energy towards, I’m getting sulky and upset, and it makes it harder to do simple things like the gym and Starbucks simply because it feels so pointless.
I’ve said it again and again, but I really, truly miss Glendon. It’s not the physical buildings, it’s the people I’ve met and grown close to, and it sucks that we all go home for the time of year when we’re supposed to be with the people we care the most about. For me, those people are the people I’ve met this year. It might be really dangerous to put so much worth into people who could be out of my life in a second, especially the few who will be leaving next year, but I’m coming to accept that it’s part of who I am as a person. I invest a lot of myself and my emotions into my friends, for better or for worse.
When you come back to your town and go back to your high school, it’s often really eye-opening to see the people who’ve stayed back and the younger kids. Going off to school is one of the biggest times of your life to mature from, and it really can influence your mindset for the next several years. Part of that change comes from choosing where you go to school; in my case, I made a decision to go somewhere small, to make good friends and lasting connections easily and quickly. I chose Glendon over U of T and Ottawa because of this, and coming home has proven to me that I absolutely made the best choice.