Thomas Wolfe once said: You can’t go home again. I actually wrote my college entrance essay on this concept…how poetic that it is that essay that led me to Chapel Hill where Adam and I met…and that these words, many years later, continue to frame our life as we travel, expand our boundaries and pick up pieces of “other” which in turn change the once “familiar”.
Over the last several weeks as Adam and I have adjusted (and continue to adjust) to living apart I’ve noticed how so many things in life are at once so familiar and yet reminiscent of something so different.
I’m struggling to put my thoughts on this into words…how about an example: as I was walking Dori one evening I take in a beautiful sun setting over the Charlotte skyline. At once I am struck by two things: it’s beauty and it’s difference. Difference from the sunsets in Melbourne, difference from the sunsets in Italy, difference from the sunsets in Fiji…oh wait, we didn’t have any of those.
The point is, distance from things you have experienced can leave you with this balancing act of continuing to revel in beauty as you see it while simultaneously being reminded of how different this beauty is in all the other places we’ve been. Does the comparison sometimes favor the more different version? Sometimes…and then I work hard to remain present and grateful.
Compounding this is the very real distance between Adam and I. My sunsets are his sunrises. My beautiful orange glow moon is his sunny mid-afternoon. My glimpses of subtly changing leaves are his sneak peeks into warmer days.
The distance is so great that we literally can’t experience the same phenomena at the same time.
So, again, these moments that seem so life changing and defining – a sunrise over the 12 Apostles, a sunset over the Sydney Harbour, the feel of the marble walkways in Athens, the smell of a dirty Parisian subway – actually are. They color your experience and perception of every other sunrise, sunset, sidewalk, and use of public transportation you have. Never again will these sights, sounds, feelings and smells be singular in their existence. In essence, whatever “home” is, changes according to experiences had, places been, things discovered. And I kind of like that.
But maybe with a bit less of the distance thing.