Homeward Bound.

For someone who is inherently skeptical of change, it’s a little wild to think about how drastically different my life is today than it was just one year ago.

One year ago, I was preparing to leave behind life as I knew it in Pittsburgh, and take the next step in my career in Philadelphia. I was apprehensive because life had been comfortable – I knew the city like the back of my hand, I was established in my job, and I had a strong and unwavering support system of friends. Leaving all of those things behind made me nervous (and sad), but I knew that it was a move I had to make. I had to push myself and I had to grow. So I did.

But quickly after I arrived in Philadelphia, I felt like something just didn’t fit. I wasn’t homesick for Pittsburgh, and I wasn’t lonely. But the idea that I had about what my life would be like in my new role in this new city just wasn’t coming to fruition. I wish I had a more elegant way to quantify that feeling, but it was something that crept in slowly and quietly.

Within two weeks of being a Philadelphia resident, I took a long weekend and I went home to surprise my brothers at their football games. It was October – I have a deep-seeded infatuation with October – and the air was crisp. It was a perfect fall day in central Pennsylvania: calm and quiet with the slightest breeze. I felt relaxed, and happy to be in my hometown: a place of true comfort and ease. For the first time, I appreciated being able to walk barefoot through the grass, an uncommon privilege in the city. There was an ever-present feeling of being home that had, up until that weekend, gone unnoticed.

It took less than 3 months for me to admit to myself that I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing, and I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I felt frustrated, as anyone might when their ideas and life plans don’t work out like they hoped. The passion and fire that I wanted to have for my career had quickly fizzled, and soon, I was simply going through the motions because that’s what I was supposed to do. I felt disengaged and desperate, but I didn’t have a backup plan.

Instinctively, I looked home. Days continued to whirl by, and I finally let my boyfriend, Skyler, in on my decision to move back to central PA. He was someone I had been friends with many moons ago – we had been nearly inseparable for the single semester that our collegiate careers crossed paths – and as luck would have it, we reconnected at home that weekend in October. However, I had tried to keep him in the dark. It wasn’t because I wanted to hide anything from him – in fact, it was sometimes physically painful not to share these things with him – but because this was a decision I needed to make for myself. I’m from a small town, and I’m not ignorant to how the rumor mill operates, so I tried to keep my relationship with him mutually exclusive from the career change I was hoping for. However, as time went on, I leaned heavily on him on days when I would be frustrated, and soon, that exclusivity faded. He was my cheerleader, and coming home turned into something I wanted not only for my career, but on a deep and personal level, too.

Fast forward to today. It’s my second week as a Franchise Business Consultant with Soccer Shots, an organization that is focused on character development and positively impacting children through the sport of soccer. It’s home to a team of truly wonderful, caring and encouraging people, who want to do good and make a difference in the world. I even have the opportunity to coach this fall season. If you would have asked me ever if this role is something I thought I would take on, there’s a chance I would have laughed. Me? Sports? Business? Funny! But when something is right, it’s right. There was never an ounce of doubt; I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.

And I’m home. After I leave the office each day, I know that I’ll soon be walking through the front door to find Dale wagging his tail, Skyler on the sofa watching Impractical Jokers and Buxton peeking around the corner at the top of the steps. I’m just a moment’s notice away from a last-minute dinner with my mom or an evening spent at my dad’s with my brothers. I have time to do the things I’ve always enjoyed – reading, cooking, writing.

For the first time, it feels like everything is exactly how it should be. Everything fits. And, despite my aversion to change, change is exactly what brought me here: home.


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