I'm officially homesick.
I don't know how this happened.
I spent 22 years trying to claw my way out the black hole called Eastern North Carolina, where people are born, grow up, live, and die without ever leaving the state. Where people see the rest of the world as a mystical, dangerous place, too far removed from "the way things are" to demand more than a week's visit every few years. Where the opening of a new Dollar General is the most stimulating thing to happen to the local economy in over twenty years. Where you have to factor in tractor traffic on the commute to work in the morning.
And then, once you're out in the world, you realize there are reasons people never leave. You can let your dog run out the back door without a leash or harness in sight, watch her run through a muddy field, and pet her smiling face as she shakes dirt all over the porch. You can walk outside and pick a pear off the tree in your yard and have the perfect mid-day snack. You can sit on your porch swing, close your eyes, and listen to the uninterrupted harmony of birds and a Southern breeze. You can walk down a sidewalk in town and not meet a single person. You can watch a deer eating daisies out of your flower bed and ponder endlessly about what it must be like to be an animal, free, just living.
Is it worth trading all that for long train rides, grand parties, crowded streets, constant groping, endless culture and lots of noise? Some would say hell no, and others hell yes. I'm leaning far, far, far towards hell yes, but there's always a part of me that misses how easy-going small towns can be.
And as I've said before - I have no idea where I want to end up in life, but this is a good place to start.