I read a couple of blog posts tonight about “coming home again” and how it is impossible, and how everyone has done the sophisticated, modern thing and moved far, far away from their “hometown”, shook the dust off their feet, and lost touch with all the people they knew growing up. If I kept following links I could have read several more of these blogs, each one detailing the snapped threads of friendships, the melancholy of knowing you are so much cooler than the people who didn’t move, and the sappy message that home is where your hubby and kiddos are – hubby being someone you met in that far, far away place.
I don’t mean to sound completely sarcastic (Okay, maybe a *little* sarcastic) but as someone who has moved “home” again, I find this attitude cliche. Like most of my generation, I bought into the idea that *the* thing to do was graduate and run – run far, run fast, and don’t look back. Scrape off all those friends and family you grew up with so that you can make a whole new group of super amazing friends who will be as close as family to you…
Not only are those damn hard to find, I can’t help but wonder WHY we’re doing this. We already had friends and family who loved us. We already had a history and roots. So, we dump it all to run somewhere “cool” and start all over and spend years trying to get the same thing WE ALREADY HAD. The answer is simple: we have to get rid of them because they know us too well. How can we become a totally new, totally cool person if we have to drag around the memories of who we were and all the embarrassing, stupid, uncool things we did?
These realizations came to me as we were contemplating the move here last year, and I won’t lie when I say that there is still a part of me that is brainwashed – a tiny part of me that thinks about hiding under the bed when I mumble that I’m back to eating in the same restaurant I ate in since I was a baby, and hanging out with the same people I hung out with in high school – And then I think “Why the **** should I be embarrassed?” I like the spaghetti at that restaurant, so why should I go somewhere else? And yeah, I’m hanging out with those same people because we had fun back then and we have fun now. All the generations who came before us were PROUD to have the same best friend for years, so why the heck shouldn’t I be? Yeah, she knows me – but that’s not as “uncool” and “confining” as TV would have us believe. There’s actually something comforting about it because that means she’s seen me at my stupidest, most uncool, and still talked to me anyway.
That’s not to say I didn’t make some awesome friends in Missouri – many of whom I miss – because I did. And that’s not to say I didn’t love it down there, or would trade my time there for anything, but there is something to be said for being back in south west Iowa. So, to the question “Can you go home again?” I say, “Only if you want to.” Because to do that you have to scrape off the modern concept that success is equal to the miles you get away from your hometown, and you have to accept who you are – not just who you are now, but who you were then – and realize that in truth they’re both pretty cool people.