Sunday, July 19, 2009

coming home

the feeling of coming home after time away is somewhat universal, with the degrees of each emotion dialed up or down depending on life circumstances at the moment. when i was younger and felt angstier about my life than i do now, my feelings were mostly of the sadness variety - blue that what i had looked forward to for so long had come to an end, down because there was nothing to look forward to at that moment. the way home marked the return of whatever was my focus at the time - an awkward social stage, a recent (or not so recent) heartache, a feeling of wanting more than i could have at my young age.

also, the familiar feelings of dread that bad things will happen, loved ones will pass away, not everything will always be okay. for some reason, the end of vacations always found me with those nerves and worries exposed and on the surface of my skin, rather than tucked slightly deeper away. my feelings then were also always tinged with inspiration and ideas i had collected on my journey, and usually it was those ideas and the energy i'd pour into them that would shepherd me out of the blues and the fears. some of those projects were less than wildly successful, like my homemade soap business, while others were formative and important, like my love of photography and a short film i made that in many ways got my post-college life started.

as we age, we don't change all that much - today, i remember those little girl feelings, maybe better than i'd like to, because life is uncertain, and bad things do happen, things do end. i remind myself that my life is a good one - no social anxiety, no unrequieted love, no lack of adult control over a childhood life - and that the tides of change are always coming, wanted or unwanted. the best i can do is give myself and my loved ones the gifts and respect i do, by accepting, beautifying and enjoying everything i can.

the tinges of sadness were heavy as our ferry left the fire island dock this morning...uncomplicated sadness borne out of a wonderful time had that has come to an end. gratitude, nostalgia, happiness and a little bit of the dread - that it won't always be just like it is right now. and it won't, and that's part of what's so special about it. i choose to believe it will get better and better, and that is something that the little girl me didn't know or believe. and i have some inspirations and projects bouncing around my mind too.

i am reminded of a mantra my mom used to recite when i was a little girl as we were homeward bound, down and blue to be returning home to our everyday lives. it hangs, immortalized in needlepoint, in my parents' house, and has come to be a guiding principle in my life, where it once was an empty rhyme drowned out by my sadness and my wonder if i would always feel that way.

"wherever you wander, wherever you roam, be happy and healthy and glad to come home."

and i am. i'm treasuring the feeling that the everyday life i am returning to is happy and full, replete with choices and moments, and plenty of vacations to come.

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