Moving back to my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia has been a little bit harder than I imagined it would be. I mean, I grew up here. This is where I went to school. Where I grew up in church. Yet, coming back here is like moving to an entirely different world than the one I've grown so used to.
Before I moved to Wake Forest, I dreaded it. Sure, there was a part of me that was excited about starting a new phase of my life, but I was basically terrified. This seems to be a running theme throughout my blog posts this week. But it's what I'm feeling these days, I promise I'll move on to more optimistic posts soon.
Anyway, I adjusted. Wake Forest became my home. I'm sure it took a while. But eventually it's where I fit. I say that because, looking back, I can't remember feeling about Wake Forest the way I do about Roanoke today.
In the few weeks since learning of my new position at the bank, I've been asked a hundred times if I'm excited to be moving back home. Of course, I've been telling people yes. Because that's what they want to hear, right? But is it really what I've been feeling?
Like with my initial move to Wake Forest, I suppose there is a certain element of excitement. There should always be some kind of excitement when faced with a truly unknown next step. That's part of the adventure of living. But honestly, I think I feel more afraid about moving back here than I did about moving to North Carolina four years ago.
But I don't want to focus on being afraid. If I do that, I'll look for my first escape back to North Carolina, and that could cause me to miss out on something incredible. I don't know what that incredible something could be, but I hope it's something incredible. Wow, that was redundant.
Instead, let's focus on what I'm coming home to. Obviously, my family is here. Now, there are pros and cons to that aspect of coming home. I won't list those here. It's probably bad enough that I'll have family members reading this seeing that there aren't just pros to being near family. Look, we all have family and it can be a wonderful thing. But if you don't have a list of cons where blood is concerned, you're kidding yourselves. Love you folks, really do, but like I said... there's good and there's bad.
Moving on. There's a new job. Again, pros and cons that I won't go into here. There's the excitement of something new and fresh and the potential for a higher income. But there's the fear of failure. I close my eyes at night and then I hear the voices. Not literally, but you know the ones I'm talking about. The ones that whisper the "what if's" into my not-quite-sleeping brain. What if I'm not good enough? What if I can't adjust to the new job? What if I go through all the proper training (all 3 months of it) and still can't get the job done? How do I turn those questions off?
But then there are things that Roanoke has that Raleigh doesn't have. There's a big fluorescent star on a mountain in the middle of the city. I mean, who doesn't get turned on by a hundred foot tall neon star? There's Macado's, my favorite restaurant of all time. Don't ask me why, because I really don't have an answer. It's a sandwich place, and sandwich places should really be a dime a dozen. But to me, Macado's is kind of special. Raleigh didn't have anything close.
Roanoke also has a closer proximity to my college friends. These are the people that I know will be my friends my entire life. They're the ones that I can share anything with and could go years without seeing, but still be able to pick up right where we left off as if we didn't miss a day together. Now I won't have to go years without seeing a lot of them, because I'm a lot closer to them.
But I will miss things in Raleigh. I'll miss the Cheesecake Factory. Ironically, the only time I ever had a real meal at the Cheesecake Factory was when I was visiting the Charlatan back when he lived in Charlotte. But I did stop by the one in Raleigh a few times and got a slice of cheesecake to go. Really, is that any more special than getting cheesecake anywhere else? Wait, let me answer that. Yes, it is more special.
Raleigh also had a P.F. Chang's, which was phenomenal. If I'd had the chance to actually ask Spider-Girl out on a real date, I probably would have taken her there. Assuming she liked Chinese food. Place was phenomenal. I already said that, didn't I? Moving on...
Raleigh didn't just have great restaurants (although the Moonlight Pizza had some pretty amazing pizza), it had people that I'll miss, and already miss. I miss my co-workers, believe it or not. I wrote a lot of Legends of the Bank Teller, and not all of them were positive legends. But when it comes right down to it, I enjoyed working with those guys. I know I just said this the other day, but it's worth saying again. For every time I got frustrated over a customer, causing me to kick my coin locker, there were just as many times when I was able to laugh, or to make someone else laugh. Made it all worth it.
And, of course, there's the Most Awesome Person I Know and her five kids. They were my family for four years, and as far as I'm concerned, they still are. I'm sorry that I didn't see them in recent months as much as I used to. But as it usually does, life got busy and hectic for each of us. Luckily there's the magic of cell phones and Facebook and Skype to help with the whole "keeping in touch" thing.
Maybe it sounds crazy, but there's Spider-Girl too. I know nothing happened between us, and now there's about a 99.9% chance that nothing ever will. But the possibility once existed. That's one of the things I'll miss about Raleigh. I'll miss the opportunity that might have been.
But what's to come for me here in Roanoke? I honestly don't know. You might look back at my posts from the last few days and assume I've already decided to give up. There's a part of me that wants to give up. That's probably the easiest thing to do at this point. But I can't do that. I won't do that. If I give up now, how will I be able to look at myself in the mirror? How will I be able to respect myself? How will I ever expect anyone else to respect me?
No, the easy way isn't always the right way. I'm embracing this transition. This move is just the next step in becoming the person that I'm becoming.