Running away from home is one of those things that gets seeded in our minds when we're young. Often, the spark comes from a book or a movie. The foundation of the idea isn't real, but the urge is intense. There could have been a disagreement with a parent that shook us down, or a fight with a sibling that pushed us over the edge. We decide to pack our teddy bear, our favorite book, a pack of gummy snacks and make our way out into the wide, wild world.
We get to the door, and then…
...And then we change our minds. We realize that we have no idea what we're doing. We have no way of living on our own. And we'd get in trouble if we didn't turn our homework in on time.
Oh yeah. I’m not talking about running away when we were kids.
The urge to run away never disappears. It nestles into a shadowed, muggy corner of your mind. Using electricity (as in neurotic impulses), the urge summons the power of impractical thought that echoes with logic and sound reason.
Succumb into its will, the cowardly and crass will to run away from home.
Let's define home for a moment: Home is where there's warmth and happiness, bright tomorrows and dreams. It's an opportunity to fulfill vocation, a garden to sow love and hope.
The urge arrives from our shadows with a smirk, wry with its skewed intentions. Prowling on our tender insecurities and fears, the urge whispers in our ear in those dark, scary moments: "run away. It's okay."
When I was young, I thought I was running towards my dreams, but really, I was running away from them.
I was afraid to write. When I was a kid in elementary school, I wrote every day. High school sidetracked me until my senior year, when I composed a full length novel. I hope to revisit that book someday soon and publish it. The next year, I had the most fruitful of summers: all the ideas came to me in a rush, including the premise for my first novel The Recital.
And then I stopped writing. I was afraid. What if I never get good enough?
So I left home for a long time and pursued other things. These things almost felt like home, but in the way renting an apartment feels like home. From filmmaking to music, photography, and for a moment, considering settling for a 9-5 and putting my 'dreams' aside.
Renting a home isn't the same. It's not yours. You're borrowing someone else's home. Even if the apartment is a cool place.
I ran away from writing. That was my home.
But despite the heat I've placed on the urge, running away is necessary, too.
All the experiences that you get while abroad round out your perspective of life and the world. This gives you a chance to walk in other people's shoes, try new things, and understand success and failure and how they are correlated. You'll discover things you never knew existed.
You'll find your drive in the darkest places:
"I'M CHANGING MY NEXT FLIGHT TO PARIS."
You grow up. And then you come back home.
And home doesn't go on to live without you, after all. Your fears were wrong. Square One is an okay place to be when you own up to it.
Kind of like George Webber in Thomas Wolfe's novel You Can’t Go Home Again.
Do yourself a favor, and run away. Just once.
What is your home? Did you run away as a kid or as an adult? What made you go back home? Leave your story in the comments below!