Your Family Misses You
"Christmas, for example, was a difficult season. Other people could take it in stride, going to Stowe or going abroad or going for the day to their mothers’ places in Connecticut; those of us who believed that we lived somewhere else would spend it making and canceling airline reservations, waiting for weatherbound flights as if for the last plane out of Lisbon in 1940..."
- Joan Didion, Goodbye to All That 1967
A Christmas with your family will never be as good as those of your gilded childhood memories. You're too grownup to properly enjoy chopping down a tree or opening presents. Another Christmas home will just bring in a wave of depression at what you have lost in adulthood.
Now imagine this pain extended over many years. Every place in your hometown will reek of your lost innocence: and here is the hall where you had your junior prom (you will never be that young again), and here is the river where you and your high school friends went swimming (you will never be that happy again), and here is the movie theatre where you went on your first date (you will never feel so in love again), and here is the park where you first read Thoreau (you will never feel that intelligent again)...
If you stay in the city you will never have to confront the ghosts of your past - at least as long as you avoid making any new memories here (and here is the coffee shop where Mr. X dumped you, and here is the subway station where you power cried for three hours, and here is the park where a homeless man flashed you).
No matter how much you love your family and how much they miss you, you cannot risk going back. Love them from a distance; that's what Facetime is for.
(Also, here, you have your chosen family.)
[Photo via @brandymelvilleusa]