Moving away from your childhood home

Photo by Eva Ou

I grew up in a small town, went to a small school and hung out with a small group of friends. It was great.

About 25,000  people call Orangeville, Ontario home, and a few dozen of those residents included my mom and dad, my teachers, my acquaintances, my doctor, my dentist, my mailman, my childhood babysitter and most of the people I’ve interacted with in my developing years who served as my entire world until I left for school.

I loved my life and I never wanted anything to change.
     As a child, I remember fearing the day my parents would decide to sell our house and move away to somewhere less familiar. I would even fantasize about one day becoming rich and buying our family house so I could hold onto it forever.

A few months ago, the day finally came when mom and dad were ready to sell the house and move away.

London Ontario, a place with more job opportunities and cheaper taxes offered greener pastures and a good change of scenery.

The kid version of me would be upset if he heard that I couldn’t achieve my dream of buying my childhood house — I have even less money now than I did at that young age thanks to fun post-secondary pricing and student loans.

So, it happened after a few weeks on the market: the house was officially sold to new people who would hopefully enjoy it as much as we did and make their own memories within those walls.

My last time in Orangeville was a day spent moving things from a storage space into the moving truck.

Sure, I had come back to visit dozens of times throughout each school year, but the personal growth I’ve experienced while out on my own was something that I couldn’t have achieved while living at home.

I needed a recharge, so when the family took a well-deserved break, I visited one of Orangeville’s many Tim Hortons and took my place in line.

I glanced around at the people in the establishment, and couldn’t help but be reminded of the different stages in my own life.

I saw two friends chatting about applying for jobs, a family sitting down to eat a meal and teenage cashiers joking around with one another.

Typical Orangeville residents doing typical Orangeville things.  It was amazing to me that my own life had changed so much in the past few years at school, but my old town was exactly the same as it had been when I was a teenager trying to get through adolescence without embarrassing myself.

It dawned on me that I had become someone completely different since that time.

I had developed into a more confident and stable person than I was as a high schooler awkwardly bumping into an acquaintance at a store or getting his first job.

My growth didn’t happen in a single moment, but slowly over the years I’ve been away at university.

Every personal challenge that came with being on my own in the world, away from mom and dad, was another instance that contributed to who I am today — someone totally different than the kid I was when I lived in Orangeville.

My last time in Orangeville gave me the revelation that I was ready to move on from my childhood town — because without even noticing, sometime over the last few years, I already had moved on from it.

I wasn’t an ‘Orangevillian’ anymore.

 Sure, I had come back to visit dozens of times throughout each school year, but the personal growth I’ve experienced while out on my own was something that I couldn’t have achieved while living at home.

There was nothing more to explore, and no one new to explore it with.

Any attempt at sparking a new adventure in my hometown felt like a rerun of an old TV show.

It was always fun to see old faces and reminisce, but I had already experienced every nook and cranny of the town I grew up in.

There was nothing more to see, and nothing outside of my comfort-zone waiting to be conquered.

My child-self wanted to cling to his life because he loved everything about Orangeville.

My adult-self wants to move on from Orangeville because he loves everything about life.

Moving on doesn’t mean giving anything up, but rather it leads to opportunities to find new experiences and people worth holding on to.

Leave a Reply