On Relationships

Now and Then


It’s often said that “You can’t go home again,” once you leave, it’s no longer the same. I’ve never found this to be true. For me, returning home is always the same – a glimpse of the past. Despite everything and everyone changing, it always feels like no time’s passed.

I spent a lot of my youth and young adult life despising the place I grew up. From the time I moved there, I couldn’t wait to leave. But now, having been gone for nearly a decade, I’m able to see the beauty of the place I call home.

My recent trip home was a special kind of oddity. My trip landed on the 9 year anniversary since I made my first escape from that small Kentucky town.

Let me tell you a little about that trip . . . I was eighteen years old, I loaded up “Black Betty” (my black eclipse) with my most cherished belongings, and I took off for the coast with the honest expectation that I’d freed myself from that town forever.

6 months later – I was back home, once again living under my parent’s roof.

That failure to survive haunted me for years to come. It was the first time I ever failed, and I hadn’t just failed . . . I’d failed at my dreams. That failure inevitably led to a long and winding downward spiral that it took years to claw myself out of.

That’s why this trip home felt so surreal; it was like an acid flashback or an attack of déjà vu. So much was still the same. I was back home hanging out with my family and my same friends, days away from loading up my car and once again hitting the road for a similar adventure.

But here’s the thing I finally realized by the end of my stay back home . . . I’m not the same.

I’m not that young irresponsible 18-year-old that believed the world was going to hand her her dreams on a silver platter. I’ve grown and so have my dreams. That 18-year-old left having no idea what she was after . . . this 27-year-old knows exactly what she wants.

Looking back, I think of all the advice and wisdom I’d be able to share with that young girl venturing out on her own for the first time. However, the more I consider how my knowledge and experiences could shield that young girl from her troubles, failures, and pain; the more I realize I needed to fail. I needed those experiences, the bad even more than the good. I needed them, so I’d be ready to take on the adventure I’m now on today. That young girl’s hard times, struggles, and heartbreaks have been my lessons learned . . . it was she that taught me.

Of course, that young, idealist dreamer still lives inside of me; otherwise, I wouldn’t have the big balls of steel to take off after life in the manner of a teenager.


But it was this trip home that allowed me to find the balance and peace I needed between the girl I once was and the woman I am today. I needed to discover that balance before I ventured off to the Big Apple.

While going home can be stressful, nerve-racking, and filled with ghosts you’d rather leave unacknowledged – returning home can also be healing and beneficial for the soul.

So, while they say “You can’t go home again”  . . . every now and then I recommend you do just that.

Following a five-year stint in New York City, Ashley is now a Los Angeles transplant. Having grown up in rural Kentucky, Ashley is passionate to share self-care techniques used around the world and hopes to make them accessible to folks in rural communities. Ashley believes in gratitude, personal legends, and doing good. Aside from being a business leader in her professional life, Ashley is a novelist and freelance writer.

One Comment

  • Martha Allison

    I like the way you wrote your growing up difficulties, and how you have changed and grown up, I also would love to visit Savannah sometime just from your tour

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