Going away to college is an extreme moment in most people’s lives where they leave home for the first time. For me, I went twenty miles north and settled in for five of the best years of my life. Whether I knew it or not, I had the home field advantage.
One night my junior year a guy who should not have been walking home from The Strip (you know, the place where Garth first made his mark in Stillwater, Okla.) strongly believed our house on S. Duncan was the house where he needed to settle in for the night. One too many crown slushies, I assumed. As I listened to his attempts at a b&e, I told some southwestern Oklahoma boy I needed to get off the phone because oh-my-gosh-someone-is-trying-to-kill-me. So, like any normal 20 year old girl would, I called my dad who drove 20 miles to sleep on my couch.
That, folks, is a home field advantage.
Since leaving the best state since 1907, I’ve likened my adventures to college. Freshman year (buffering in Charlotte) I was homesick, didn’t like my classes and spent way too much time doing things that didn’t matter. Sophomore year (thriving in Austin) I fell into the groove, found my rhythm, but was still very much an underclassman. Junior year (Hello, Nashville) I’m feeling like me again: confident, spending more time at the rec center, and living in a legit house on S. Duncan.
My safety net - in a lot of ways - was ripped out from under me when I moved to Charlotte. I couldn’t drive home to Perkins when I needed a minute, I couldn’t drive my car into the shop when it was making a noise and I couldn’t pick up someone in my tribe for a run to TJMaxx and Ted's Café Escondido when I just needed a person to listen.
But, just like in my junior year I’ve started to believe myself when I tell myself it’s going to be okay.
This week I watched the sunset from the steps of the Capitol.
For a second, I imagined I was sitting atop the rocky hill on the back 40 overlooking my childhood home. As I removed my earbuds and allowed myself to listen to the white noise of the city, I acknowledged Nashville is a great city. It’s overflowing with creative, passionate citizens. And, it’s okay that it’s not home.