Earlier this Summer, I shared with you some reflections I had during a road trip I took from Washington State to Los Angeles. After said trip, I hopped on a plane to New York. This flight kicked off my July and August on the East Coast. During that time, I’ve traveled up to New England, down to the South, and back again… an adventure I’ll write about in future posts. Before this adventure started, however, I spent 10 days in my hometown. It’s this stint I want to reflect on today. Here goes!
Balancing adventure time with staying still time is important
When I arrived in upstate NY, one of the very first things I noticed was my need to stay put. I had a great desire to not leave my parents’ house. Normally, I’d try to get out at least once or twice to see old friends and family, but not this go around. I simply wanted peace and quiet. Luckily, staying in a town where cell service still isn’t reliable was just the place to fill this requirement.
In reflection, I saw that all the energy I expended on the road needed to be balanced out, and boy am I glad I took the time.
This isn’t my home anymore
This was a big one! Despite all the peace and quiet being helpful, I finally recognized it wasn’t on my terms. I saw that my parents live here 24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 52 weeks a year. Who am I to come in and request they not start lawn mowing at 7 in the morning so I could get more sleep? Who am I to ask that they free up the bathroom in the mornings so I could get ready for work? I used to be a resident here, but I’m clearly not anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I have stayed at my parents for days and weeks on end a time or two during the past 18 years of my life. However, this time around I connected with the fact that I simply don’t live here anymore and I no longer have any sort of say in what goes on in the house. It’s not my place to make requests or to change anyone else’s routine. I saw how before when I would come back to visit, I would slide back into my roll as a child living in the house. This time I recognized how this slide no longer serves me (it probably never did) and I pulled back on it right quick.
This meant recognizing that when I’m here I’m a guest who has to maneuver my time around the routines and constructs of my parents. This is something I’m finding increasingly frustrating, which also means it’s something I’ll be addressing in future visits (either by staying somewhere else or preparing my schedule differently).
In addition, I saw this small town also wasn’t my home anymore. Yes, I grew up here, have a great deal of family still here, and can probably go into many of the local establishments and be recognized, but I simply do not hold dear the same values and beliefs of the surrounding community. My world has shifted, and my points of view along with it. I’m a visitor here, and knowing this makes me feel both excommunicated and liberated.
I’m not sure where these realizations will take me, but I am sure recognizing them is important (and probably something I should have done long, long ago).
We grow up and we grow apart. That’s OK.
Going along with the above themes, I also realized how much I’ve grown apart from those I spent much of my childhood and young adult years with. I attended a wedding shower for a friend I’ve known since pre-school and felt fraudulent for doing so. Having gone many places and done many things in my life without having my hometown friends around me, I suppose this feeling only makes sense. We aren’t on the same pages anymore. This doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, it’s just a reality of being an adult who leaves.
I know the sooner I own and accept this fact, the lighter and more prepared for additional growth I’ll be.
On July 1st my friend and I started our East Coast road trip which will be featured in the next installment of this blog. Until then, I find myself in this sort of limbo between who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. I suppose this limbo is what living life is all about, though. Who knew?