Sunday, December 20, 2015

Blogmas Day 20: Home, wherever that may be

I'm home!! I'm finally, finally writing to you from the comfort of my parents' house. What a great feeling. Though, I will admit, I have some mixed thoughts.

Whenever I arrive after having been gone for awhile, there's always a stack of mail at the foot of my bed and a fresh set of sheets. It's comforting to know that life goes on when I'm not around, but there's still a part of me that finds the phenomenon quite odd. Being a junior in college, I've been living away from home for about three years now, and I'm perfectly content doing so, though obviously I get homesick from time to time (as I think we all do). I just think it's weird that there's almost a ghost of me living in my childhood home: when I'm away, all of my things remain as-is, with none of my old books and knick-knacks touched, the room serving as a reminder that I still live here on occasion and that I'm still a member of the family. But...do I live here anymore? That, I'm not so sure of. While a huge amount of my things remain under my parents' roof, it's all the stuff that I don't need or even think about on a day to day basis: high school yearbooks, ill-fitting hoodies, and things of that sort. And while I call this "home," it's not the residence in which I spend most of my time. But it is where all the most important people in my life are, so that has to account for something.

It's where I go for dentist appointments and where my magazine subscriptions are delivered. It's where I can drive around and point out landmarks from formative childhood moments. But it's not where I work or go to school or where the Dunkin Donuts workers all know my name. See? A strange dichotomy.

I think it just gets weirder the older I get: in previous years, when I was living in a dorm, obviously this felt more like home, because my Harrisonburg abode was hardly home-y. But now I have an apartment decorated with Christmas lights and a parking spot for my car right out front. I have an electric bill and a personal grocery budget. So while Harrisonburg will never quite be home, I gain more and more autonomy there every year, which makes it harder and harder to discern where my permanent residence lies.

It's hard to imagine a day when this bedroom will be a guest room, with all of its current contents in storage, in the garbage, or taken with me on my next adventure. I know that's sooner than I care to admit, though. After this break, I'll only have three more semesters of college before I'm considered a post-grad millennial without a clue. Maybe I'll become a boomerang child to salvage this feeling of displacement I'm having. But I don't think that'll happen (fingers crossed). I think returning home will become more and more foreign the older I get. The good news is it'll never lose its comforting touch, but soon enough this place will just feel like a bed and breakfast owned by my parents where the rates are dirt cheap (free, if you provide your own transportation, in fact!) That's why for now I'm fully marinating in my return home, wherever that may be.

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