This past weekend was my first post-grad homecoming. Let me tell ya, it was odd. Honestly, it’s only been a few months (okay, six) since graduation and it almost felt like I was just going back to school. Except that the whole time I was acutely aware of my new outsider status. I’ll try and explain. Remember the year you found out that Santa didn’t exist, but you didn’t want to spoil it for the other kids? You participated in the excited conversations about what Santa would bring, expressed amazement at finding sooty footprints in the fireplace and a half-eaten carrot on Christmas morning, marveled at the beautiful gifts that appeared like magic in your stocking… Everything was exactly as it should have been, but it felt wrong. Like watching the blissfully ignorant children open their presents with your face pressed against a thick glass window, the Christmas cheer of years past just out of reach. That was homecoming.
And there were far too many people. How in the world was I supposed to catch up with every single person I cared about for four years in the span of two days? Naturally, I got overwhelmed and gave up. Sorry to all the folks I didn’t see or talk to. To give myself some credit, I was kind of sick, and running on little to no sleep.
Anyways, going back to Furman (especially the Vista House) did kind of feel like going home – but as I mentioned above, it had that surreal, just out of reach element. I thought coming back to Philly would feel like coming home, but with a new job looming overhead and my persistent lack of close friends in the city, it felt a little ominous. And you know, being in Auburn this summer – even though I was with my parents, it didn’t feel quite like home either. So where is home? I know pretty much every twenty-something is asking this question right now, so I decided to share my thoughts.
Home is where your stuff is….
Shampoo? Check. Bed? Check. Books? Check. Food in the fridge? Check. Closet full of clean(ish) clothes? Check. Okay, great, I think I’ll stay here now. Also I’m too lazy to move all this shit again for a while.
Home is where you pay rent…
I have invested way too much time and money into this place to sleep elsewhere. Also, it’d be nice to postpone seeing my horrible landlord in person again for as long as possible.
Home is where the heart is….
In the chest, between the lungs, behind the sternum, and above the diaphragm.
Home is wherever I’m with you….
Right here. On the internet.
In all seriousness though, I think home does have a lot to do with the latter two. Feeling at home comes from having a full, content heart. Personally, I believe in the Holy Spirit – that we each have a part of the Divine within us, which connects us all – and if you are able to tap into that, you can be content anywhere. However, I also think community is incredibly important. When you’re surrounded by the right people, they lift your spirits, and act as a mirror – reflecting your truest self with unconditional love. It’s hard to feel at home without a community. I think that’s why it’s been so hard for me to feel at home in Philadelphia, because my community building has kind of been on hold. I’ve been hesitant about investing in people here because I’m already invested in other people and other places. Technically making new friends doesn’t mean dropping old ones, but sometimes it feels like it… and I have some pretty great ones I don’t want to lose.
Some snapshots from the weekend: