Before becoming a guidance counselor, I was a college recruiter, traveling across the country to encourage students to apply to my university. Many students were very interested in the college—until they found out where it was. “That’s out of state,” they’d say sadly. “It’s too far away from home.”
While there are many good reasons to stay near the place where you’ve grown up, there are just as many reasons to move away. As someone who moved 16 hours away from my family, I know both the difficulties and blessings of such a decision! Read on to learn why moving away from home can be one of the best decisions you make.
1. Moving away fosters individuality.
Moving away from the community in which you grew up gives you a “fresh start.” Being on your own—whether at college or at a new job—fosters individuality. It allows you to break free of opinions and stereotypes your community may have had about you and start over in a new place and stage of life.
When you move away, you’re also forced to form new habits and routines. You’ll have to find a new doctor, new dentist, new mechanic and new church. You’ll get to make these choices for yourself—decisions that will require maturity and wisdom. You’re learning to become an individual distinct from the people and place where you grew up—while also benefiting from everything you learned there.
2. Moving away encourages independence.
In my first month away from home, my car’s battery died three times. When I lived at home, my dad was readily available to help me with these problems. Living on my own, it became my responsibility. This was scary at the time, but it was an excellent lesson in independence. I had to do the legwork to take care of myself and my vehicle. This is an important part of adulthood!
Moving away forces us into uncomfortable situations where we must think on our feet instead of letting our parents do things for us. I couldn’t fly or drive the 16 hours back home—it was up to me (and many phone calls) to find a solution. I am grateful for the independence I learned in that season and still see its effects even today.
3. Moving away exposes us to new ideas, communities and relationships.
In my case, I moved from the northern Midwest to the central South of the United States. This exposed me to a culture and ideas very different from my own. Any time we move away, we encounter new people and ideas that challenge our thinking. We learn how to evaluate the things we assume to be true in light of these conversations and relationships.
If you’re scared to move away because of the unknown, it’s important to recognize that our growth depends on exposure to other worldviews, people and cultures. We become more effective witnesses for Christ by understanding others. Hiding from discomfort or unfamiliarity only hinders us from the growth we need.
4. Moving away helps couples create a new family identity.
What about couples who move away from family after getting married? This can actually be a great time to establish a new family identity. When we get married, we are no longer bound to our parents’ directives. We forge a new union with our spouse, and we answer together for how well we tend that relationship. Every family is different, but in some cases the husband or wife’s family hinders them from forming the union God designed them to have. In cases like these, the best thing is often to move far enough away to establish your own identity and family values without the pressure of in-law expectations.
Even when both families are supportive and kind, having time to form an individual family identity as a couple is still a great way to start your marriage.
5. Moving away doesn’t make home less meaningful.
Finally, moving away doesn’t mean we love our hometowns any less. To the contrary, moving away from home often makes us appreciate where we’ve come from even more! Visiting on holidays becomes more meaningful, not less so.
Though not everyone is called to move far away, if you’ve been debating whether or not to do so, I hope this post gave you some positive reasons to consider taking the leap. Whatever you find, wherever you go, if you are in the center of God’s will, you’ll find blessing and contentment.