I think it’s cute that Omahans get the benefit of calling Omaha, HOME-aha. The name just works. Definitely doesn’t flow the same with KansasHOME City, nor any other version of the words “Kansas City” combined with the word “Home”. But somehow, someway, Kansas City is home.. and so is Omaha/HOME-aha.
It did not start that way. I am a Kansas Citian, tried and true (and born and raised). I love Kansas City, I never thought I would leave to be honest. I mean, I even went to KU (goooooo Jayhawks!💙❤️) just to stay close to home, much to my Boomer Sooner parents probable regret. Kansas is flat, and purportedly boring, and wheat-filled.. AND I JUST LOVE IT. Although not a fan of barbecue (an actual sin), there is so much about KC that I love: the landscape, the adventures, the memories, the sports, the energy, the lakes.
But mainly, I just love the fact that my family and friends are there. I’ve talked about it before, but to me, there are few concepts/ideas as important to me than home. I do not like leaving it. Like.. I’m one of those people that was EXCITED when quarantine happened so I had a legitimate reason to turn down plans. 🤣. I’ve also talked about how home isn’t a place, or a bunch of things, but rather a person, a feeling, a safety. Home is an environment and there are almost no environments that measure up to home in my opinion (EVEN COUNTING THE BEACH! 😱)
Truth be told: my last childhood sleepover was in second grade (an unfortunate puking incident ended that fun). My next sleepover was the first night in the dormitory at KU. So no, my ass was not going to Oklahoma, or any other state for that matter, because I simply wasn’t sure I was leaving home at all. My freshman schedule consisted of classes every other day, not because it was convenient (which it was, btw), but so I could go home between school days. I’m just a homebody, or a “family-body” if you will.
Being away from my family is comparable to torture, especially as a young, 20-something. The thought of being without my safety net, my protectors, and my favorite people, was inconceivable. Home was wherever they were. And they, my mom, my dad, and my brother, are still home. They always will be.
But three years ago, I embarked on a new journey, and I moved to Omaha, despite everything in me telling me not to. Love does weird things to you, y’all 🤷🏻♀️. Matt was too good to pass up, and I wanted, so badly, to give it a fair shot. A 3-hour, distance relationship.. was not a fair shot. So I did it. I moved.
Well.. sort of. I didn’t tell anyone I was moving (including matt), I barely packed anything, and I just kinda showed up in Omaha with my dog, my clothes and a pillow, and announced that I would be living here now. 🤣 (I am still not sure my boyfriend invited me to live with him, but after 3 years, that is neither here nor there). Not acknowledging moving was the best way to move for me, but I truly don’t recommend it. It’s a little stressful for all parties. (😝 poor Matt).
And I’m not going to lie.. I HATED IT, absolutely hated it. I did myself no favors. I moved while I was supposed to be studying for the bar, so I was not working, I was not socializing, I was not even studying with anyone. The only person I saw was Matt, which lost some of its excitement after a while (not because of him, but because of me). I was sleeping all day, studying all night (less distractions) and I was miserable.
Friendly piece of advice: Don’t move somewhere and allow yourself 0 opportunity to make friends. Your boyfriend can only be your only source of socialization for so long.. before you both go crazy. TRUST US. 🤪
So, with that outstanding start, I’m sure you can imagine how the rest of the first year went. I had no life, no friends of my own (bless Matt’s friends’ souls. They tried). I didn’t LOVE my job. The winters were colder. Matt’s dog was kind of a dick. I didn’t know how to do simple adult tasks without my parents. I was confused and stressed, and just really, really unhappy. Even my grocery store wasn’t organized how I liked.
(This is how irrational I was, I was mad about the freaking organization of the grocery store). So, I decided, I would go home. I was done, I tried it, and it didn’t work. I loved Matt (and still do) but he could come with me if he wanted 😉. It wasn’t working.
I told my dad, who was THRILLED and I told my mom, who I was expecting to be thrilled as well.. but she surprised me. First, important note: my mom and I are besties, being away from her sucked and still sucks. So when I was expecting her to be brimming with excitement, and she was not, I was shocked. That day, my mom gave me some of the best advice of my life.. and completely changed my life’s trajectory. She told me she would love for me to come home, but she wanted me to be able to come home, knowing that I had given living here my all. Basically, she wanted me to be able to tell her/myself/Matt that I tried my hardest to be happy, and I just didn’t like it, and she simply did not think that was the truth. She was right, I was bent on being miserable.
I was put-off, and honestly, I am sure my feelings were hurt. Knowing me, I probably took it as a “don’t come home, we don’t want you here” at first, but the more I thought about it.. the more I realized she was right. I would always regret moving home, if I couldn’t even tell myself that I tried my best to be happy in my circumstances. So that day, I gave myself a month. I called girls I had met, but never hung out with, and made dinner plans, I made date night plans with Matt and other couples, I started going to work functions. I even spent time learning the stupid grocery store layout, so it wasn’t so overwhelming to go.
Crazily enough, a month later, I didn’t want to go home. I told myself I would give myself a couple more months (to let this new energy subside) and see how I felt.
Three months later, I still didn’t want to go home.
Now, we are three years in, and I can happily say, I’m HOME-aha. 💕
Kansas City will always be home, but you can always have more than one home. Honestly, I think everyone should. You should have your family, that you are always “at home” with, you should have your life partner/person, who makes anywhere in the world feel like home, and you should have your group of friends, which feel like home the second you’re reunited. Home is people. It is not a place. I stand by it.
The day my mom made me promise to give happiness my all, before I came home, was the day my life changed. It was at the moment, or the moments afterwards, once I was thinking with my brain and not my heart, that I realized happiness is a choice. Like the type of choice that you have to choose every freaking morning, as soon as you wake up and continue to choose all damn day long. But it’s worth it.
It is ALWAYS worth it to be happy. I will forever be thankful for my mom, for giving me that little nugget of truth, and for forcing me to choose me and to choose happy. I’m sure she had no idea how profoundly it would impact my life, but it has. I choose happiness, every day. I choose Omaha. I choose home with Matt. I choose to visit my family, and love on my people, and then, return to Omaha. I choose my friends, new and old. I choose my job, even on the hard days. I choose my dogs (and all other dogs in the world). I choose happiness. And I choose home. 💕
Plus, the best thing about home being a concept? It can exist anywhere. You can always go home.
Choose happy, go home. Sunny daze ahead, sweet friends (I know it!).