Fun fact: I live in the same town that I grew up in. Despite spreading my wings and getting away for a few years in college, I live five minutes away from my childhood home, and Mike’s is five minutes away in the other direction. There is something incredibly comforting about establishing roots in the place you grew up.
And yet, this week as I was driving down the main road in our town I was overcome with a wave of emotion. It may have been because of a country song on the radio (because those always get me in the feels), but I didn’t just flash back to high school. I saw memories of myself as a ten year old, as a thirteen year old girl, rollerblading around town, stopping at the gas station for a Parrot Ice (local friends, please tell me that you remember), spending those long and lazy summer days doing exactly what any child should spend their summer doing. And I couldn’t help but feel sad at just how quickly those days have turned into not only memories, but distant memories.
I have known this place my entire life, and yet my current life and my past life are two very different things. Those friends that I spent long, lazy summer days with have all moved on. In fact, of my close childhood friends, not one of them still lives here. The people and memories that made this place home belong in a different lifetime, almost.
This wave of emotion hit me hard. I don’t think we really take a long walk down memory lane all that often. We think of past times, sure, but to allow ourselves to really transport back to a different place and stage in life almost feels as though it is an out of body experience; as if we are watching ourselves through the eyes of someone else. I am not that same girl who spent the summer of 2005 joined at the hip with her best friend, having pool days, sleepovers, and chasing boys. But if I could talk to her, I would tell her to soak it up, because those are memories she is going to cherish forever.
Today looks different. I am married to a boy who grew up in the same town as me. He lived five miles away. I knew his brother, his last name, we had so many connections, and yet our paths never crossed. I always figured I would never end up with any of the boys from my hometown, because I never felt a spark with the ones I knew. Except the guy meant for me was there all along. The children we have, the in-laws I have gained, they are all pieces that were there on the periphery of my childhood, with me being entirely oblivious to the fact that the little world I lived in, the world where I thought I knew everything, had an entire, undiscovered layer that would turn into my forever.
I’m not sure if this post has any grand conclusion. But, I feel as though I have had the strange and unique privilege of living two entirely different lives in one place. My childhood and my adulthood, look pretty different, and yet I have the same place to call home. And that, I think, is pretty darn amazing.