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The recruiting battle for your services starts the moment you walk in the door. Whether your mother wants to admit it or not, Christmas is a time for her to remind you that things could be more comfortable if you’d just move back to a place that is a bit closer to where you grew up.
It’s nice to be home, back where it all started, catching up with your parents and friends of yore over tea or something a little bit stronger. This period of time offers up a lot of time to think. Maybe too much time.
We leave the places we grow up in to have new experiences and meet people from different walks of life and I think going back to a parents dwelling for a few days is always going to be a mixture of nostalgia, melancholy, and questions. What would it be like if I had stuck around?
Everywhere I go I’m reminded of the conveniences that life would offer me if I decided to leave the city and move back to Michigan. It takes roughly 15 minutes to travel two miles in Chicago by way of car. In a small town like the one I was just in for a week it takes 5 minutes or less. Getting from point A to point B is so much easier when you’re not factoring in traffic and bus routes or train schedules.
And then there’s the fact that everything is cheaper. Every time I got a check when I was out with friends for a few rounds of drinks I sat in my chair and marveled for a moment. I’ve done this countless times since moving away from my parents and every time it’s the same reaction – “Wow, I can really get four beers for eight dollars here. What a steal!”
I listen to friends who have bought their own homes and scoffed at the idea of moving to a metropolitan area where rent is constantly rising. Life seems simpler in your hometown and that’s because it is. The rat race doesn’t exist like it does in the city and the longer you’re “back home” the more you start to think about it.
If you’re back for one, two, or three nights it’s one thing – but an entire week warps your mind in a way that I wasn’t really prepared for.
I was back at my parents house for six days, going to local haunts where beers cost two bucks and a round of shots for a table of five or six doesn’t make me wince when I get the bill. Grocery shopping with a car is amazing, and thinking about going back to Chicago where I take the bus or walk to the grocery store seems like torture now.
And of course there are negatives to living in a small town. In a city you can find something entertaining to do every night of the week. Entertainment options in a village or town generally consists of a few dives and a movie theater or two.
I thought about the cost of living a lot over the holidays. Is the nightlife of the city really worth it? Should I just settle down, buy a house somewhere in the woods closer to my aging parents and forget about paying fucking rent every month? Shit gets very introspective when you’re not doing anything other than eating and drinking inside the home that made you who you are today.
Being home for the holidays is a test. You lose the ability to think rationally when life becomes lounging around mom and dad’s house in sweatpants eating Christmas sweets at all hours of the day and replacing your daily water intake with red wine or spiked eggnog. You don’t really want to move back to your hometown I promise you that. Sooner or later you’ll snap out of it. You’re just under the spell of the holidays. Nothing more, nothing less..
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