All around campus, people are still in the post-spring break blues. It was far too short and now we are thrown into the last 6 weeks of the semester, full of exams, papers, and the longing desire for the beginning of May to arrive. I even felt that way on the plane ride back to campus. It seemed impossible that the entire break was already over. Was it just a week ago that I was excited to go home? As I gazed out the window at 10,000 feet, I also thought about what had occurred over the last few days. I had been excited to go home. I got to see my puppy, my family, the people that I used to volunteer with, and my old coworkers. Aside from seeing friends, there are many reasons we all look forward to going home: good food, laundry, being in our own house, own our room. It’s comfortable and familiar.
And yet, it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, everything looked the same, was the same. Nothing in my room had been moved even a centimeter. All the people I used to know and see every day were all the same. Especially in my sleepy little hometown, time seems to stand still. Little changes. So then why, when I walked through downtown, did everything seem so different? And then, I remembered people telling me when I went off to college: “you can never go back home.” Perhaps it was naïve, but I never believed them. Home would always be home, be my history. It wouldn’t change while I was gone. And in some ways, I was right. Home didn’t change. Where I went wrong was believing that I would see home with the same eyes. Oxford has provided a lot of opportunity for growth, for improvement, even in just a few months. My perspective had changed enough that what was right in front of me looked completely different. I could never return to the me from eight months ago, and therefore home didn’t completely feel like home anymore.
So maybe the old saying needs to be revised. It’s not that we can’t go home, but we can never return to the version of us that first starting calling it home in the first place.