Happy New Year!
I’ve heard a lot of people vocalize this sentiment about how going home feels off. And while I get it, I never quite heard a good elaboration of what this meant for people. They (including myself) liked to use the vague words like “off” and “weird” that only describe the surface of an emotion that is hard to dig through. This process, of finding what going home means to you, is largely personal and varies wildly from person to person. However, I feel there are some congruencies from person to person, which is why I always like to ask people about it. It’s interesting.
This poem is my summation of it. To me, there are two sides.
In my first year of college, I was organized, determined, and focused. I had made a schedule and loved sticking to it; I felt productive and like I had really come a long way from my where I was before. Every day was a step in the person I hoped to become. Now, when all this personal progress and development takes place in your dorm room where you stay for 2 uninterrupted months, going home, (the place of what felt like 17 years of stagnation) it killed my momentum. No matter how hard I tried, I tumbled back into bad habits and felt terrible for it. I didn’t have the drive of a fish-out-of-water.
On the other side, home is home. It’s where my parents cook for me. I had my own room to myself. Even the shower, (though not nearly as good as the ones at the dorm), was welcoming. No matter how much I grew in college, I didn’t lose my first tooth on the Diag. There are memories that you connect to at a childhood home, even the bad ones, and that vulnerable feeling can’t be replicated. As well, there’s less urgency. Homework, projects, lectures, student orgs. Those are all on campus, which is where you escaped from. There’s less pressure to impress a roommate, room to stretch.
One friend, after reading this poem, summed it up as, “being home sucks, but also everything feels a little less real and a little less overwhelming.” That struck pretty close to the heart of the issue for me.
I had to go home for 2 weeks to dog sit my parent’s 2 favorite children. And, while I was there, I was productive! Diving into Judith Weston and Akira Kurosawa I wrote and I got better at the ukulele. All while including time for recuperation. It was really great, and it showed me that the twisting I originally felt didn’t last forever. I was glad to come back to my apartment, but I’m looking forward to the next time I’m home for a while.
Have a good one.
-Jonah J. Sobczak