For now, my parents still live in my childhood home, and I think about what it means to “go home again” when I visit there.
This month, I am enjoying a different version of going home again. I am on sabbatical for the semester in Somerville, MA, living around the corner from where I lived as a new bride.
When DH and I lived on Hancock Street, our landlord lived next door. He still lives there. Back then, I had no sense of his age. I only knew that he was olllllld. Only old people could be landlords, right? You may be able to tell where this is going. Turns out, he was about the age then that DH and I are now. Yup, old.
Shortly after we arrived in town this summer, I was driving near our neighborhood. I was kind of lost, but I knew if I kept driving, I would recognize something. I did! The ugly yellow stucco building of my first apartment on Elm Street. I feel zero nostalgia for ugly & yellow & stucco. And yet, I had a wave of emotion sweep over me when I spied it. Ugly & yellow & stucco was right there in front of me, but it was also inconceivably remote. Who was I when I lived there? My breath caught in my throat, and my mind formed this specific thought:
When I lived here, it was before I had made so many mistakes.
I was blindsided by that thought. It’s bleak. But I don’t feel bleak, I feel content. So what was that thought telling me?
Like many other 21 year olds, I thought I arrived at adulthood and had life figured out.
Now I know there’s no such thing.
There would have been no telling me then what were going to be the really hard parts of the last thirty years.
I needed to hear then, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
The sound track for this post has to be Cold Play:
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start
Nobody said it was easy, indeed.