• Courtney McLane Mize


I never realized what it meant to leave home. Growing up, there was always the expectation that I would go to college. So naturally, I did, and even after my mom gave me a tearful goodbye, and my sister ran up the airport security line after me, I never doubted that I was making the right decision.

Now, almost two years and two states later, college is a sweet memory and home is somewhere I have never looked to return to. Not to say that home isn’t amazing, because it is! There is something so timeless about where you planted your roots. But home is also comfortable. Home doesn’t challenge you the way the world does. Home is where you know who is going to be at the check-out in the grocery store, where Friday Night Lights are the main weekend attraction, and you don’t need a GPS. Home is always going to be home, but home is not an adventure.

Last night I was celebrating a friend’s birthday, and after we all raised a glass and sang “Happy Birthday” to the man of the hour, he said something that resonated with me, and probably most of the others in the room. “It’s hard to leave the place where you’ve grown up your entire life, and after only six months in Nashville, I’m happy to have you guys and know so many great friends…” Amen brother! Moving away from home can be one of the scariest, most exhilarating experiences. People talk about doing it, and talk about where they want to be, but never make it happen and that genuinely breaks my heart. I have a lot of life left to live, and am far from having things figured out, but leaving home, graduating from college, moving to a state where I did not know a single soul, and five months later moving again has taught me more than I ever could have imagined. All of this to say…..here is why you need to kiss home goodbye and move away!

  • You learn how to spend time alone. Most people don’t think that this something you need to know how to do. Most of us do plenty of things alone! But 99% of the time, we aren’t actually alone. We come home to familiar faces, we are meeting up with friends, we are going to class and sitting in a room with hundreds of other people, usually we are not alone. Moving away means that you will probably take a week or so to get settled in your new digs. You probably won’t know anyone, except for the creepy maintenance man that you’ve seen from time-to-time. You probably won’t have best friends lining up outside your door to go get coffee with you right away. So you learn to be alone. Going to restaurants alone, movies alone, the gym alone, even walking into a new job, you will probably be alone walking into the office the first few days. This is good for you. Sometimes it’s quiet. Sometimes it’s awkward. Sometimes it makes you miss home. These moments make you appreciate down time and love yourself. That’s something to be thankful for.

  • You learn how to make friends. From the time we are four years old, we spend our days with friends. We all go to school and share classes, lunches, playground jokes, and locker notes with other kids who are in the exact same phase of life that we are. Making friends is somehow a way of life that naturally happens, starting when we are still given designated “nap times” (Those were the days.) Then you move away to college, and make friends because you share a bedroom with a stranger that you’ve never met, live in a building with hundreds of other strangers, and all of you just want some friends, whether you say it out loud or not. Making friends is scary, but absolutely and completely doable because you are all doing it together! Then you graduate, move away, and have to learn how to make friends. You aren’t going to school every day, soccer practice every night, or packing out study rooms writing papers. So how do you make adult friends? Bars are friendly, but people can be super creepy, so there’s that. You can make friends at work, but what are the boundaries? You probably don’t want your friends aka colleagues to see you full of liquid courage dancing with strangers on Friday night. You can make friends at church, but what’s the most graceful way of handling that? Going up to someone who looks about as normal as you are and asking them to be their friend, knowing that they can’t really say no because, let’s be honest, you’re at church….who is rude to someone at church? Somehow or another, you meet someone, who introduces you to someone, who realizes you have a mutual Facebook friend, and before you know it everyone starts to realize that they are all from far away and need new friends just as much as you do. You learn to make friends.

  • You grow up. Plain and simple. You can’t just get in the car and go home for free food, or to have mom do your laundry. You suddenly start thinking about your 401K and whether or not you want an FSA or HSA. You Uber. You build a lifestyle that fits you because there is no one else to worry about. You get your oil changed. You see new things. You experience new foods. You find local hideouts that start to make things feel homey. You learn to send cards, because that’s how much you actually miss people. A text just won’t suffice. You become who you are supposed to be without the hindering comfort of home. You just grow up, and that is so priceless.

So moving away….you learn how to be alone, you learn how to make friends, and you grow up. Is it scary? Yes. Is it exciting? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.