Home for the Holidays: A Brief Reflection

For one reason or another, being home for winter break always feels terribly anachronistic. Everything is completely different, but on the other hand, nothing has changed. A couple of days ago, I did an alumni panel at my old high school with the kids who’ve known me since I was an acne-prone 14-year-old obsessed with beat poetry. 

Some of these people I hadn’t seen since the day I graduated, and yet when we met up again, we fell comfortably back into the cycle of retelling embarrassing childhood stories and teasing each other relentlessly. It’s almost the same- but of course, it’s not the same, because now our lives branch off to New York and Chicago and the UAE and only intersect for a few short days every year.

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Before, this would have made me sad. I dreaded going back to college up until the very last second of the break. Yet now, as I write this article on a plane somewhere above flyover country, I look back on everything and smile. It’s comforting to have people that have known me in many different stages of my life, from the girl who scraped her knee on the playground to the girl who moved into her freshman dorm. It means that everything I have been, both good and bad, continues to exist in somebody’s memory. 

One of the best things about college is that it allows you to grow as a person. Sometimes that means that we grow apart from the people who we thought would be in our lives forever. Time might bring you together again, or it might not, but looking toward the future doesn’t mean that you have to bury the past.

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For my birthday, my parents got me a new Nintendo DS (another remnant from my childhood), and I’ve been playing Legend of Zelda semi-obsessively since then. There’s a beautiful quote at the end of one of the games that I’ve been trying to keep in mind: “Whenever there is a meeting, a parting is sure to follow. However, that parting need not last forever. Whether a parting be forever or merely for a short time... that is up to you."

As the seasons change, the people around us naturally change too. That doesn’t mean that you’ve left each other behind. Whether you never see somebody again or circle back around to each other eventually, it’s okay. It’s all part of the journey that we’re on.