I just back from a long overdue visit home. My home is nestled in the Pacific Northwest between the Rocky mountains and the Idaho border. It holds some of my favorite things: trees, fresh air, and my wonderful family.
Every time I go home I think that I will realize something about how I've changed or gain some fresh perspective on my life. I always do, but it is always something different than I expect.
As I hung out with my family and revisited old places and old memories, it struck me that everything was almost exactly the same. It was if I was who I was 10 years ago. However, as you might guess, I was not.
I went for a bike ride in the September evening a couple nights before I left. I breathed in the warm air and let the gentle wind soothe me. I could have ridden around that neighborhood forever. It was in this atmosphere that I realized that I am not the kid I was 10 years ago, even though everything around me told me I was: the summer night, the city, the sights and sounds. Instead, I was who I was now, amazingly enough. I realized that I had been bringing those memories and emotions from all the time I had spent there and throwing them on the canvas of my town; living life through an old and outdated lens. In that moment, I glimpsed the possibility to enjoy life for who I am now, not through the memories that are, albeit part of me and my life, but are long gone.
Instead of being depressing, it was a very freeing feeling. I found that it can be just fine to hang on to memories and cherish them, but it is also possible not to live through them. It was more fun to make new memories this time and to finally, in my hometown, be myself and not who I remembered myself to be.
When I left home again after that, I decided this new way of seeing was coming with me: I was seeing my hometown differently, how about where I live now? I left that old lens behind and things are starting to get just a little more clear.