Breaking away from our roots — the thing people dream and fear the most. This course begins by moving, whether its in the same city, town, neighborhood, etc. or different, and later evolves into us delving farther out as we become further independent in discovering ourselves. For those who dream of spreading their wings, this is an easy task, and they take advantage of every opportunity which presents itself, such as going away to school, studying abroad, traveling, even day tripping to new places. However, for others, its a far cry to think of themselves leaving home.
I’m one such dreamer who wishes to spread my wings. At my first university, I lived on campus in a dorm with three girls, later dropping to two. Although I did not like the first place I chose to study due to the “secret” environment, I enjoyed living on my own, and it taught me the meaning of responsibility. I did everything on my own — cooking, cleaning, laundry (which was easy, since that was my main chore at home as a teenager), budgeting, and even straightened out issues with financial aid and OSA without the help of my folks. Also, since freshmen weren’t allowed to have cars on campus, I depended upon the campus shuttle to get around, this run running anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours behind. Most of the time, it was the latter. I learned to wait patiently and also keep warm during the bitter winter without a car by sitting anywhere I could in sight of a bus stop, mostly the Marshall’s on Dixwell Ave. I learned how to plan my days, and, if not for financial reasons, I would’ve dormed again at my alma mata, especially since I visited those dorms in between class and saw, and knew, the people there were much more nicer and just better human beings than those where I was before. But hey, I survived — and I could handle anything life throws at me, living wise.
That goes not just with my old school, but my soon-to-be old neighborhood that I grew up in, too. To be kind, let’s just say a majority of the people there are not nice, some even borderline psychotic. I can’t wait to get out, and though I’ve been back at home, I still live life independently, especially now that I have a reliable car (may my former ones rest in peace). Its easy to get around when you live in a city, especially one close to Manhattan, though in your heart, you know you can’t stay there forever. At least I do. Yonkers is a big city; it has its good and its bad, where I’m from, mostly bad, but it still boasts much opportunity. However, it also makes people lazy, and tethers them down, and I’m not talking about the hard working residents who’ve been there their whole lives and raised their families, the “old timers.” I speak of their children, my generation, the children of technology who can’t even save up to move out of mommy and daddy’s house. This is not just the case in Yonkers, its anyway, from a city outside of the five boroughs to a small town in the boonies; people are afraid to leave.
The fear of departing one’s roots doesn’t only come in the form of permanent move, but temporary also. Yes, many people fear to travel. Whether its from the horrors going on in the world, lack of funding, or plain sloth, people don’t want to leave their house or their hometown. They’re much more content seeing the same people everyday walking up and down the streets, same moods, same vibes, same opinions and biases as opposed to exploring a new hamlet, city, town, country, or culture. I believe that everyone should travel at least once in their lives, in it opens the mind to a whole new way of thinking. Mine was expanded the first time I went to Mexico, and it matured more when I was in Italy both times, once in the south for nine days, the next based in Rome for three weeks. When you see a whole new way of life, you can’t help but be drawn. This helps those who make the courage to move far away from where their from, the drive that brought my grandparents at two separate times in the 1950s, years before they knew each other, to America, one at seventeen, the other at twenty-four. Yes, there is fear, since it is truly breaking away, but there is joy and gladness in being free. If it weren’t for their bravery and passion, and that of any and all people who leave their homes and countries, many of us wouldn’t be here right now.
Being free, leaving home — for some its a dream, for others a nightmare. Yet that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be accomplished at least once in our lives. Whether you’re in a city such as San Antonio or Yonkers or a small town in the middle of nowhere like San Bartolommeo in Galo or Canicatti, it doesn’t hurt to go away, whether a permanent move or temporary one for travel, school, or work, and broaden your horizons. Some people will find a calling they never utilized; others the ability to be free, yet need for codependency. Yet always remember this — no matter how far or close you go in life, you can always go home, for the values and lessons of where you come from don’t live on in that quiet house, bustling city, or kindred hometown, but deep down in your soul in the depth of your heart. And that, my friends, is why we must never forget who we are or where we come from, and act like that good kid to anyone we encounter, whether it be the waiter at the restaurant or the Queen of England. Be gentle, be kind, be whole — but never fear to throw yourself out there and travel into the great unknown.