Going back home this time was a grand project. A challenge. Something motivating and exciting.
I hadn’t felt that motivated and excited in a long time—probably not since the last time I was home. Last holidays and all, whenever I talked about going back home, I lit up. Besides fitting snugly into the new “plan” I’d outlined for myself, it just felt right.
I envisioned this trip as a fresh start, the easy answer to the complex, convoluted, and downright tough questions I’ve been grappling with. About who I was versus who I am now, about what I really want out of life and how to get it.
But answers don’t come easily and fixes aren’t quick, no matter how drastically you change your life.A friend recently asked if I’m homesick. And it is a kind of homesickness, but not in the traditional sense because I don’t have a physical home to miss. The only stable home I’ve had as an adult hasn’t been tangible. It’s been me. My identity. My self. Post-grad angst in general and in particular have made me homesick for the person I used to be.
I’m homesick for the creative energy I used to have. Writing and taking and editing photos, without it feeling like a chore or an obligation. Engaging with literature and film and art, rather than just consuming it.
I’m homesick for the physical energy I used to have and the sense of adventure and wonder that motivated it. The drive to keep wandering, to keep trying, to keep experiencing.
I’m homesick for my naïveté, and my optimism, and the trust that I used to give out freely, before he betrayed it.
I’m homesick for the guy I was, and I am happy going back home because it’s the last place I remember seeing him, being him. The last place I was when my smiles were almost always genuine and still reached my eyes. The last place I felt truly capable and fulfilled and self-assured. Whole.
I tried to go backward, resisting the forward pull of things, because going forward feels like I’m leaving my old self further and further behind. I came back for him, but he wasn’t here waiting for me.
I’m grieving the loss of him.
Sometimes I glimpse him in the man I am now. Other times this new self seems impenetrable and I’m daunted by the prospect of trying to get to know him. Which of the same things bring him joy? How does he see the world now? Will he be able to trust himself to trust someone again?
And will I be able to anchor myself, to make a new home in him?