Remember Sylly week?
That was two months ago. Hard to believe, isn’t it? We’ve just now looked up from our ever-growing stack of assignment descriptions to realize that the leaves have changed color and we can see our breath in the morning.
Lots has happened since the greenness of August. We’ve worked, failed, laughed, had fun, had too much fun and, hopefully, learned. I think we’re pretty used to the college lifestyle. Too used to it, in fact. It’s time for a break, and there’s a substantial rest right around the corner. The sweet, stuffing-stuffed nothingness of the days of Thanksgiving break.
School, in all its novelty, is still terrific and fun. But surprisingly, one of the best parts of freshman year can be returning home for the first time. A bad cold took me back to my house the other week, and I was able to experience this phenomenon firsthand.
The first thing you’ll notice upon walking into your own home is how it smells. If you’re like me, you’ve never been away from home long enough to notice the way your house smells. We ignore the scent of the place in which we live because it’s always there. But when you come back for the first time in a while, it’ll hit you and wrap you up like a blanket of familiarity.
If your dog or cat doesn’t seem to recognize you, give them a treat or some food from your own plate. It’ll jog their memory or make them fall in love with you all over again. Different stimulus, same reaction.
Your bed will feel as it used to. Reintroduce yourself, you’ll likely be spending lots of time together over break. Pillows and blackout curtains are key, the normal home-return wakeup time is well after noon.
Something I’d taken for granted before I left school was the ability to drive. The road feels much better in a familiar ride than the long platform of a CATA bus. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a car, you can drive all over the place. Maybe you’ll visit your old high school or a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
It’s good to have this freedom and the rejuvenating break from the grind and wildness of State College. Your family and the familiarity are the best stress relievers around.
But this trip home can also be dangerous, because in many ways returning is the same as traveling back in time.
We all have a different life now. High school and the majority of childhood are both over, and the memories of both stages are harbored almost exclusively in our homes and hometowns. I made the mistake of trying to relive these memories, and was disappointed when I found that things were different. Happiness I had found in some spaces was no longer there when I looked for it.
As sad as this was initially, it was also liberating. It confirmed progress. I knew I’d moved on and could let go.
Don’t, as I did, expect home to be completely intact when you return. Enjoy the parts of it that remain, accept the things that aren’t. Remember the absent good times fondly, but don’t try to find them.