You Can’t Go Home

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January 1st, 2008, I moved out of my parents’ house in Bayside, Queens and moved in with some friends in Oswego, NY. In a week, it will be exactly 10 years, a decade, since I have been out on my own, and it has not been all roses and sunshine.

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After going to college at SUNY Oswego and spending more time at the campus EMS service than I did in class, I moved back to my parents’ house in New York City. I began to attend college at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Something was missing. I did not feel like I was doing what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to be in life. At that time I was an EMT-B and all I wanted to be was a Paramedic. One day while talking to a friend from Oswego, he mentioned that he was moving into a house with two other people and needed a 4th person. I did a little research and was able to find a full-time EMS position with Rural Medical Services and moved back to Oswego, NY. The next few months were an absolute nightmare

pexels-photo-262272.jpegLiving with friends, while on the surface sounds like a good idea, turned out to be the worst thing I ever did in my life. Sharing a living space should be a compromise between the people living there. However, of the 4 of us, 2 of them ran the show and were dominant over the rest. I endured this suffering for almost 9 months but eventually reached an agreement with them to be bought out of my lease and I moved again. This time from Oswego, NY to Syracuse, NY where I rented a room in a house of a very lovely, but also controlling, girl from Oregon. During my time in Oswego, I had lost my full-time job at Rural Metro and had begun working part-time at WAVES Ambulance as well as the Apple Retail Store in Syracuse, NY.

After my move to Syracuse, I met the woman I eventually would marry. But the years that followed were not easy. About a year after moving to Syracuse, I lost my job at WAVES and I also left my job at Apple. I had began working as an EMT for a medical alarm monitoring company full time. It was a job, but it wasn’t an EMS job. I felt my goals slipping away from me. I eventually lost that job too and slipped into a deep depression and became suicidal.

500px Photo ID: 185514129 - Brooklyn BridgeDuring that time and for a long time after, I fantasized about “moving back home”. New York City was always the goal. I talked about it, I tried to convince Allison that we could make it work despite the extremely high cost of living. I was bouncing around from job to job in Syracuse and I knew in my heart of hearts that if I went back home to NYC I would get my EMT certification back and eventually get my Paramedic certification and be living the dream. I would get a job with FDNY, be respected among my peers, we would have a modest apartment in Queens, go into Manhattan on the weekends. I would play in the dirt and live in the clouds. It is all I could think about. I was obsessed. I would not allow myself to see the beauty and enjoyment of where I was living. I hate the apartments we lived in and I hated everything about Syracuse.

When we would go visit my parents and family in NYC, I changed into a completely different person. I became relaxed, I felt alive. I felt at home…

Home, its a weird word. It has a definition, many in fact. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Home-

1a one’s place of residence domicile
b house
2the social unit formed by a family living together
3a a familiar or usual setting congenial environment; also the focus of one’s domestic attention 
b habitat 
4a a place of origin
b headquarters 2 
5an establishment providing residence and care for people with special needs homes for the elderly
6the objective in various games; especially home plate
I think for me the one definition that rang true during this time was

3a a familiar or usual setting congenial environment; also the focus of one’s domestic attention 
b habitat 
New York City was familiar, it was comfortable, it was Home…
Allison used to get so mad at me. Even when we were living together, I would always say that I could not wait to go home when talking about New York City. She would get mad because we were living together, married, in love…home is where the heart is she would say. Making me feel as if my heart was not in our relationship but rather in New York City. She was right.
This was a time where I truly did not love, let alone like, the person I was. I was depressed, I gained so much weight (was over 400 pounds), I felt like a failure because I had no degree, I failed to reach my goal of becoming a Paramedic and I bounced around from job to job.
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All of that began to change this year. In 2017 I took charge of my life again. In August I had Gastric Bypass Surgery and Allison and I bought a house. we are putting down roots. I have been at my current job for almost 2 years. Things are good. My health is improving and my happiness is at its highest level.
So, why did I give you this crash course in the last 10 years of my life? Because the strangest thing happened last weekend. We went to New York City and I missed Syracuse, I missed my house, I missed my dog….I missed my home.
I have been thinking about things a lot. Comparing how things are here in Syracuse vs New York City. Cost of living, quality of life and so on. I came to the realization that New York City is no longer home for me. It is where my parents live and where my family is and I will always visit. My child will certainly know the joys and wonders of New York City but it will not be home…and that is ok.
Syracuse has become home, not just where I live and work. I am connected to this city, and the community. I have friends, I feel a certain way about it. I love New York City, but it is just a great place to visit and all.
Whats my point? My point is, you cannot always go home because sometimes you are already there and you just need to open your eyes and heart to realize it.
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