November 14, 2011
I never really understood the appeal of staying in your hometown after school. I liked the idea of jet-setting across the country; I was eager to find a new place, a new start, a new version of myself.
I found college in Brockport, two hours from my parent's home in Chittenango. It wasn’t far, but it was far enough for me to have my independence. I could start to find the new version of myself, with my fresh start. I watched myself grow and learn as a person in those four years. While it was painful many days, it was a wonderful and endearing experience.
And then I moved 20 minutes away from college, working as a reporter out of Canandaigua, living in Greece, a town of 90,000. I looked forward to staying in the Rochester area for my career. I thought I was home.
But an unfortunate turn of events brought me back to Chittenango, my hometown, population: 5,000, tops. I was unsure about moving back home. I had grown to love Rochester, and the city still holds a special place in my heart. But I ran to my comfort, to the area where I grew up: home.
"...and it's that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with," said Dorothy in the 1939 classic, Wizard of Oz. It's all too fitting with Chittenango's Oz connections.
Sometimes you have to find your Emerald City to truly find yourself. You have to recognize you have the courage to step away, and the wisdom to come back. After all, there’s no place like home.