If you grew up in Minden, chances are at some point in time, you couldn't wait to leave.
My friends and I all had grandiose plans to get out into the world – a world where the majority of the restaurants did not have drive through, department stores outnumbered dollar stores and wine was available for purchase at the grocery store.
My personal plan was to get a journalism degree and head straight to the offices of Cosmopolitan in New York City.
That obviously did not happen. Though I did, like many of my friends, finally make my escape from what we considered small town hell.
And slowly but surely, just like our parents before us, we are trickling home. I went to a classmate's wedding last month and was surprised to see just how many of us had taken up residence in Minden – by choice.
Some went out and found their success in big cities, but returned to raise their kids, who will inevitably also want out. Others came back after failed happily ever afters. And some just never sought the opportunity to leave in the first place.
My last day at the Press-Herald was Dec. 31, 2007, while I followed a man who was pursuing his dream.
Two divorces and a half-dozen career change attempts (and a few sessions with a therapist) later, I am home – not to rebuild my life from failure but to capitalize on the lessons I've learned since I left six years ago.
The community has welcomed me back with open arms, and I am thrilled to be doing my kind of reporting again. It's a true blessing that I can do what I love to pay the bills while going back to school.
I used to roll my eyes at those "Come Home to Minden" license plates. Now I'm thinking I just might have to buy one.