“I started life with two great advantages: no money, and good parents.”
The past few months have made me a more spiritual person, and today really drove home how grateful I should be for my life.
I write this week’s post sitting here in Orlando airport, at Gate 50 near the sunny window, before I board my flight to New York.
Today marks the end of the final spring break of my life, and the full transition into adulthood. I couldn’t be more excited, and feel more prepared—thanks to my parents.
The next time I come back to my parent’s home, I’ll have another permanent home in New York. I, of course, will always do my best to visit them several times a year, and they’ll also make every effort to come up.
But they can no longer count on me to come back every school break, to make a mess and keep them up late, to double their electricity bill and have a constant stream of friends over, and to sleep in and wake up immediately demanding to be fed.
I know they’ll always be there, and it’s because of this that I’ve never been afraid of going out in to the world and shaping my own reality. I know that I will be loved and supported no matter what (secure attachment theory in a nutshell).
As my dad has told me and my friends all our lives—his best advice to young people is to leave the house as soon as possible, because the real growth happens when you’re on your own.
“Go out and fail, your home is always going to be there,” is his short version.
Independence is hard, but it’s necessary, and the sooner you master it, the more successful you’ll be—and the better you’ll be at being a good husband and father.
On the car ride over to the airport, I couldn’t help but stare out the window and soak in the silence and the views with my father at the wheel.
I remember always being ashamed that I grew up in Orlando, and would generally label myself as a New Yorker when asked.
I realized that it’s stupid to run away from something so integral to your identity, and as this past year has showed me—home is where the heart is.
Now, I’m not only no longer ashamed, I’m immensely proud of my home state and the people I’ve made connections with here.
It started small, first by changing my Twitter header to the Orlando Museum of Art (and you can thank YNW Melly’s unbridled Florida pride for part of the transformation).
There’s no shortage of success and happiness that has come from my family’s move to Florida from New York, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be the largest recipient.
Living here has made me different from friends in New York and abroad, in ways I can’t quite articulate but have grown to appreciate it greatly. It has also made me cross paths with some of the best people in my life.
So really, I’d like to apologize to my parents, and to my hometown for ever taking you for granted, or for even putting you down.
The older I get, the more I realize how little I know.
I wouldn’t be the Florida boy I am without you. And I’ll never forget where I’m from.
P.S. Dad, if you’re reading this, the tears I shed were because as I stared out at the passing houses and lakes, I was deeply humbled and grateful for you and mom’s wisdom, guidance, motivation, and presence—and your decision to move out here, but still encourage my dream to live in New York.