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We wait a lot. On web pages to load, on food to finish cooking, on movies to start, on people we’re meeting. On a lot of other things, too, but those were the first things that came to mind.
It seems like a lot of times the future is all we really care about. Cling with abandon to the hope that ‘someday’ it won’t be like this. Remind ourselves that in X amount of days we’ll be out of one place and into another. That the things coming will be better than things going and going on. We’re always on the verge of something. We’re always counting down.
Right now, I’m on the verge of a homecoming. A strange homecoming, albeit, but a homecoming. Three days away.
And I’m not ready for it.
I mean, I’m ready for parts of it. I’m ready to sleep in my own bed, hang out with my dog, and eat food I’ve missed more than is socially acceptable. I’m ready for the parts I don’t have to invest myself in emotionally. (Although I do have a quasi-relationship with some of those foods…) (Another time, Tumblr. Another time.)
The rest of it?
…Not even close.
I’ve faced the unknown a lot in the past year. And I did okay, things turned out alright: everything is still in tact, mostly. But right now what’s got me scared, what’s got me up at three a.m. to write this down, is going back to what I know. Or knew…? What do I know.
I’m going back to Indiana in three days, for a seven day stay. Well, seven days minus two days basically eaten up by traveling, which equals five days. Five days, but seven nights. Yeah…playing the numbers game doesn’t really help. (And plus, I suck at math.) (Get it? Plus?)
The thing is, this is kind of like, it. My parents are finally moving. After this trip, going home will mean driving to Phoenix, rather than trekking halfway across the country. Weekend trips for free food and quality dog time will join the realm of possibilities. Going home won’t take spending hundreds on plane tickets and hassling with luggage. Which are all good things.
But there are bad things, too. Like all of the people that have made me who am I that are still in Indiana and still will be in Indiana when I leave for the last time. Like all of the memories that live there, the places that I grew up in, the areas I know like the back of my hand. That all stays behind. I can only check two bags.
Part of the trepidation is just because moving is inherently scary. Or at the very least, moving is never easy. It’s just that this time feels so final. I knew that moving to school would be pretty permanent. But the original plan was never to stay in Arizona for the summer. And the original plan included being in Indiana again for multiple extended periods of time. And the original plan…you get the drift.
Which reminds of something someone very wise asked me this year.
“How often does life actually go according to plan?”
So in three days, I’ll mix my hellos with goodbyes. See people once or twice as time allows, be reunited and torn apart again within a matter of hours. Eat the food with more appreciation. Take a last shoot-around on the basketball hoop that, in some ways, raised me. Tell people I’ll miss them a few days after telling them I had missed them. Take pictures. Go on late night drives through sleepy towns and main streets that you can’t find in the southwest. Memorize everything I can before I can’t anymore.
It’s not going to be easy. I’m aware of that. I won’t even come close to handling the whole thing with grace. I’m aware of that, too. I’ll be a mess on the trip back-maybe I should make the airline aware of that-and for a while afterwards. But as Robert Frost once said, “it goes on.”
I simply don’t want to forget who I am. So much of me is wrapped up in what I (lovingly) think of as one of the weirdest, most boring states in America. I will never lose sight of that. Indiana holds a lot of things I love. More things than I probably realize. I’ve got seven nights and five days to find all of those things and appreciate them once and for all before I return to my new life, my new home.
Condensed Summer 2011: The Realization Tour
For right now, I’m biding my time doing the only thing I can do: I’m waiting. Waiting for three days to pass and the time to come and the trip to happen and take me whirling around and, seven days later, settle me back down in the desert so that I can start to re-build. To really put down roots. To learn how to balance past with present. To start being an adult. I’m not sure how I’ll do it. Here’s to hoping I figure out some kind of game plan within the next, oh, 84 hours.
Because ready or not…here I come.