A home away from home

It’s my third day home and I have two more days to go. This probably sounds like a count down until my midterm break is over, and truthfully, it is. I never thought I would be thinking, “I’d rather be at school,” but here I am, lying on a twin bed, in a room that does’t feel like mine anymore, thinking just that.

I love my family, my dog, and the house I grew up in. But why do I feel as if I grew up so much more at college, on my own terms? I feel somewhat disconnected every time I go home. I feel as if I meant to press the pause button, but I actually pressed fast-forward. I realized that because I’m so focused on building my life at school, I tend forget about the life I leave behind at home.

I go to a small college about two hours from my hometown. It’s not far, but far enough to feel that separation. When I was a freshman in college, a day didn’t go by where I didn’t receive a text from my parents that read: ‘just checking in’. But even when those texts slowed down my sophomore year, I often found myself driving the two hours home on the weekend. Now a junior, I didn’t want break. I didn’t want to go home.

Horrible right? I didn’t want to go home to a loving family who would do my laundry, cook me dinner, and direct all their attention towards me.

These wonderful circumstances are outweighed by something that took me three years of living by myself and a handful of trips home to realize: I grew up. Where these comforts were once something I needed and expected, I now only see them as a nice break/change of pace from my own reality. But this time, I didn’t feel myself longing for that change of pace. I’m happy with my current pace.

I could talk about why I don’t rejoice in going home; like how my empty bedroom doesn’t feel like mine anymore, or how living out of a suitcase gets old. But what I think is more important is how this sudden change happened without me noticing it.

As my moms picking up the empty liquor bottles in my room from the night before while asking me every question under the sun about my life, I realize that “living at home” is not everything it used to mean to me. My family now sees me as being independently established and depict me to be responsible (I’ll just let them think that). They see me differently and they’re proud of who I am becoming, which is  one of the greatest feelings in the world. I’m grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me to be able to experience a life away from them; while at the same time, always willing to welcome me home with open arms at any time. It’s probably a feeling I won’t be able to understand until I am a mother myself.

But I somewhat feel as if I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t need that comfort. I’m mature and (somewhat) prepared enough to live on my own, and I like doing so. My friends have become my family, and my tiny, imperfect, college apartment has become my new home. Though I realize this lifestyle is temporary, the clock is ticking and that clock stops when I come home for break. It’s not a bad thing, but it sure puts my life into perspective.

Though this “pause” on reality is nice, it throws me off. Thus in the midst of spending countless hours on my couch watching Netflix with no pressing commitments, I can’t help but count down the days until I can return to my routine. Even if my routine is stressful, unrealistic, and demanding, it has become blessing in disguise to the point it has changed my definition of normal. Honestly, I’d say I’m pretty lucky to be able to live in a place that I can consider to be a second home.

Or in other words: Take me back to a life where I can leave dirty dishes in the sink and order a whole pizza for myself without my mom questioning my sanity.

Two more days.

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