48 hours of being home after almost a year of living abroad has been enough to make me feel like a moody teenager all over again.
Home is a four lettered word that can shape shift depending on the lips of the person speaking it. To some, home might mean a place to sleep for the night, while to others home might be the house that they grew up in, and to others still home is not a literal house, but wherever their loved ones are. My home will always be Cape May, the small South Jersey town where I grew up.
While my definition of home has not changed this past year, my ability to adjust to ‘living at home’ definitely has. As always, I look forward to returning to my childhood town, where the sound of Laughing Gulls on the beach and churning bike pedals teleport me instantly to an earlier decade, yet the mood of this summer shimmers differently this year.
I find new strain between these four walls of ‘home’ that were not previously present. First comes a much more noticeable need to be alone. After adventuring and living by myself, sharing my space with 3 other people, as much as I love them, is more difficult for me. My time alone, to sit and think and feel and relax, is something I have come to deeply value and appreciate these past few months.
As I write this article, I am sitting in the predawn peace that is 5:30 in the morning, sprinklers spritzing grass and birds singing to wake up the rest of the world. In these moments I find balance and solitude. In these moments, I am thankful to be alone.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy being around my family, it just means that my needs have changed. It’s overwhelming enough as it is to return home after living in a different country, let alone throwing a new house dynamic into the mix. It will definitely take some time to adjust.
For myself and others, I hope to remember that while the first few days are often the most difficult to transition, they are also often the most revealing about what we need and value. My personal struggles lie in not having enough time to myself and adjusting to a routine where there is none. I just have to remember that change always brings room for growth.
Home will always be home, even though how I react to it will continue to change. In these difficult moments I aspire to grow, remember, and remain appreciative of the place that has formed such a strong foundation of my character today.