Two days ago, my partner asked me to join him for a 30-minute drive outside the town.
He was heading to the same street where I lived with my parents for 15 years.
My parents and I moved there when I was 13, then my parents moved to another town two years ago. Ever since, I haven’t visited that town—and if I’m honest, I never even thought about it.
I never felt homesick for that place. In fact, my parents were so eager to leave that they even didn’t think twice about it. The neighborhood got crowded, nearby constructions blocked almost all the views, and the energy there was just off.
Whenever we talked about that house, we only stated how disturbing it was and what a blessing that my parents found a better place.
However, when I passed through my old neighborhood, all I got were uncontrollable, fleeting flashbacks.
There was the highway where I used to wait for my bus.
That was my bedroom balcony—how many times I sat there and painted, wrote, read books, and welcomed friends.
And ah, my old bedroom. It accompanied me full-time since I was 13 until I was 24. Then it stopped beholding me much amongst its walls since I started traveling and rented my own place.
That bedroom though…I see no one has inhabited it yet. Those walls knew me better than anyone ever had. They witnessed my transformations, realizations, prayers, tears, laughter, insomnia, growth, and every other aspect that turned me into who I am today.
We moved across my old bedroom and passed by the kitchen window. I remember there wasn’t much light pollution at that window side, so I would run at it whenever I wanted to glimpse some clear stars.
Then I saw the kitchen’s balcony. My heart raced as I recalled Mom making the most delicious meals, and I smelled them all across the room.
I certainly felt homesick for the living room. How many big decisions I made in that space. How many family gatherings we had, dinners, and intimate conversations.
Then I looked into the street that knew my feet better than any other place in the world. How many times I walked that road to calm myself down. How many times did I rush through it to catch the sunset by the sea? How many times did I cross it with happy news? And how many times did I walk it tired and wanted to reach home and sleep?
It took us five seconds to pass by my old house, but in my mind, it felt like one year. I couldn’t help my tears nor could I help feel homesick for a place I swear I forgot.
Was it the place itself that prompted such emotions?
Was it the memories?
Was it the personal growth (which I could clearly see) that happened in that space?
Was it change?
Maybe it was the surprise of change disguised as homesickness?
Whatever that was what I felt, it was definitely beautiful, human, enlightening, and bittersweet.
Overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions, I didn’t know what I should be feeling.
Should I be angry that some treasured moments are never coming back? Should I be grateful that my present is undoubtedly better and reassuring? Or should I surrender and realize that it’s normal to be forever lost between these two emotions?
That trip outside of town allowed me to see the change that I was too busy to reflect on. It was beautiful to see how our life reshapes every once in a while and how we adapt.
We always adapt.
Maybe looking at my old place brought back memories of my old self who was attached to people, dreams, and ideas of which I refused to let go.
That old house showed me the different parts of myself that have currently changed.
Then I looked at myself in the rearview mirror, and I saw a new woman—a woman who is successfully alive without any of her past attachments.
A woman who can endure, grow, and redesign herself in the way that is needed.
Feelings of homesickness bring the old to the surface. But instead of getting stuck there, perhaps we should look at the present.
The rearview mirror in the car was my direct way of looking at who I am today. Whatever your means are, look at them and embrace the emotions of homesickness, transformation, and change.
The past, with all its desirable goodness, will never return. But we can sense it in our daily growth.
Maybe we are forever meant to feel homesick for people, places, animals, ideas, moments, and dreams.
And it’s more than okay.
Always remember that it’s transformational but also fleeting.
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