Monday, May 24, 2010

Who says you can never go home again?

This weekend, the “Pennsylvania Experiment” will come to an unceremonious conclusion. After 3 long (and short) months, we are heading back home to New Jersey. Unfortunately, I am not returning as a triumphant hero, but rather a humbled man.

It was a Monday when we decided which house we wanted to buy. On Tuesday, I was let go from my job. The house was everything we ever wanted. It was quiet and beautiful. It was a place where my son could thrive. We were supposed to grow old in that house. That house is now a symbol of what could have been.

The sad truth is that I saw my future here, or at least a future here. I was proud to be a Pennsylvanian. It represented an opportunity to lay down our roots – a chance to finally start our lives. As an added bonus, we were no longer going to be the punch line for the myriad of NJ jokes, no matter how untrue most (or just some) of them are.

My whole life has been about NJ. I was born in NJ. I did all my schooling in NJ. My first job was in NJ. I practically bleed NJ (and a little NY Yankees). It is entirely possible that Pennsylvania simply rejected my NJ blood. NJ people are of a different breed. Not everyone can handle us. It’s true that we have a certain way about us. Now, I will return to NJ.

I keep telling myself that there’s nothing wrong with coming home again. It’s a place where I can be accepted despite my shortfalls. However, I’d rather not return under these circumstances where I had no other choice but to retreat. I always thought that if I came back to NJ, it would be on my own volition – I would choose to come back. But, because of things out of my control, the direction of my life has changed again. This time, I feel as though I am not in control of my own destiny, but rather at the mercy of a system and circumstances that don’t offer rewards for hard work, good intentions, and honesty. As far as I can tell, there is no pot of gold at the end of my elusive rainbow.

As this chapter comes to an abrupt end, I’m hopeful for a new start in an old, yet familiar place - a place where the local pizza joint doesn’t close at 9pm and I can do my grocery shopping at 1am. I am hopeful that this is a true American tale where the protagonist is at his lowest point of the story with his back against the wall, only for a drastic turnaround into something bigger…and better. And let’s face it…New Jersey is way better than Pennsylvania.

Finally, a life unexpected has opened a new email address:

I understand that leaving comments on a public forum is not always the ideal situation for everyone. However, as I share my experiences during this uncertain time in my life, my goal is to show that we are not alone. Everyone struggles through life at times, whether it is fatherhood or motherhood, unemployment, or just the ups and downs of daily life. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to this blog. There are so many people in a similar situation. Some of us have made it through the tough times and it helps to know that it will get better. Writing this blog has been a cathartic experience that has allowed me to verbalize my feelings.

So…I want to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or email me and share your story. We can trade advice. Tell me what you like or don’t like. I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. This Jersey girl welcomes you home!!! I am so glad you are coming home! Friendly's on Wednesday?
    PS - from someone who also lived in PA, Jersey rocks!

  2. It's funny. I keep thinking to myself... I would give anything to go home right now. Back to my friends and family in America. Instead because of immigration and the recession I'm stuck in England. It's one of those grass is always greener things I think. I totally get why you wouldn't want to go home on these terms... but man does the thought of going home sound good to me! We can't even afford the plane tickets to go to a wedding in the states I'm a bridesmaid in this summer. Seems like life is rough for everyone right now.


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