It was sometime around the end of fifth grade when my parents decided to move from New Hampshire to Florida. At that age, I never understood why they made that decision. I was young, but I had friends, a place I loved, a life I was familiar with.
I cried the last day of fifth grade. It happened at the end of the day in front of the school where the buses picked us up. I told my friends we were moving, but they didn't believe me. Maybe I didn't believe it myself. But it was real. How could this happen? That would be the last time I ever saw my friends.
I remember wearing sweatshirts every day in an act of defiance when we first moved. It would be 80° outside, but I'd wear them anyway. I vowed to hate Florida no matter what, and that hate lasted for two decades. It lasted until I was 32 years old.
A few days ago, I turned 32. I live in New Hampshire with my wife, and I've made the move from Florida to New Hampshire three times now.
Each time I came back "home" something would happen and moving back was the only logical option, so I did. Now here I am with a beautiful house in a quiet town—preparing to move back to Florida again.
Why would I move back to a place that I hate? I guess that hate isn't as real as I thought it was. Two decades later, I guess I finally realized why my parents moved our lives in the first place. And they were right.
I love my home state. I'll always be from New Hampshire. I'll always miss the spring mornings with open windows and birds calling. I'll always miss the leaves turning into a beautiful palette of colors in the fall. I'll always miss the memories of playing outside in the winter, building forts, and how beautiful it is right after the snow falls.
But those are just memories now. There's nothing left here for me. For my wife. For our new baby coming in October. They're just memories that I've been chasing. I've been looking for a home that doesn't exist anymore when I should have been building one for myself. For my tiny family that's about to get bigger.
I have a great life. I have opportunities that a lot of people wish they had. I have a loving wife—my best friend—and an amazing future right in front of me. Yet I keep chasing these memories.
I'm over it. It's time to move on. My parents were right even if they didn't know it at the time. The opportunity for us in Florida is so much greater than it is in New Hampshire. There's more family, more friends, more familiarity, more everything.
It's selfish for me to chase these memories. It's time to do the right thing for me and for my family. It's time to suck it up and admit I was wrong for so many years. Some of the best times of my life were in Florida, and some of the best times to come are there, too.
Sure, people will think I'm crazy. We're all fucking crazy. It was a hard lesson learned. I'm prepared for all the questions and criticism. I'm prepared for anything life throws my way now.
Keith Urban – Without You