You can go home.

I miss sushi.

I moved back to my hometown in December, and it’s not exactly a metropolis of non-stop action and endless restaurant options. The only sushi you’ll find here is made from pickled vegetables. People generally aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere, and driving along the narrow roads sometimes makes me miss the feeling of hammering it down on the interstate. And don’t get any notions of going to a coffeehouse or bookstore after 7 p.m. With the exception of Wal-Mart, you won’t find a light on after dusk in most businesses.

All that being said, I have never been more positive that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Moving back home was one of the best decisions I’ve made in years. At first, the different ways I’d have to downsize to make the move possible didn’t sit too well with me. I make about 1/3 of what I made at my last job in the city. But I’m at least 3 times more fulfilled, returning to the world of higher education and only having to work part-time. I live in a house now that’s 400 square feet smaller. But the love of my life shares it with me and continues to complete endless improvement projects on it for me.  Instead of one acre to call my own, I now have 43 to enjoy, capture on film, hike through, and watch my cats and new beagle explore. I got rid of my sleek little red Honda. But I only have to drive my little SUV a mere 15 miles to work. There’s no internet service where we live, but I have never felt so connected to the people I love.

This morning as I sat on the porch, the sun around the curve of the quiet road in front of our home, the neighbors driving by on their way back from breakfast, waving and nodding in my direction, I remembered that Thomas Wolfe once said, “You can never go home again.”

In some ways, he was right. It’s not the same as it once was, and many of the people I knew then I don’t know now. I got pretty accustomed to certain amenities and options while living in a larger city, and I’ve had to call upon all my cooking and entertainment skills to find ways to make the best of a more self-reliant setting. But anything I gave up, I got back in return three-fold. Taking a leap of faith and leaving everything familiar to me has proven to be a huge step in the direction of spiritual contentedness and everyday happiness. Deep down in my soul, every time I look around at the changing leaves, the chirping cardinals, and the largely untouched landscape, something inside me smiles and gives thanks. I’ve never felt more at home in my life.

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