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What’s Familiar

It’s not a coincidence that the word family and familiar are so similar.
This week I’m taking an in depth look at my old familiar while spending time with my family.

Right now, there’s a part of me that really wants to hop in my car and go drive to my old high school just to sit in the band parking lot and remember things from my teenage years. Maybe after that I’ll ride my bike over to the playground down the road from my mom’s house and meet my best friend there so we can sit on top of the monkey bars and talk for a few hours.

IMG_2445
My best friend Sam from High School visiting with me at my mom’s house in Rotterdam NY where we grew up.

We are creatures of habit. Maybe that’s why we are drawn to the same kinds of people, the same sorts of experiences in our lives over and over. Maybe that’s why we duplicate the relationships we grew up having with our parents and our siblings. We are programmed this way. We see things in our environments over and over and eventually our subconscious just takes this repetition and runs with it and creates in our lives everything we thought we knew and loved.

I can’t figure out how I feel about it all.
Bittersweet.

I want to tell myself I’ve changed and grown. I want to look in the mirror and see a woman who is different, who’s learned lessons and conquered mountains but as I sit in the dark at moms kitchen table I know that’s not all true.

I am different.
I have grown…
But I still deeply love the things that were once so familiar.

I think what I’m feeling is a good thing though because I appreciate both ends of the spectrum now. I have ventured out into the world and I think that makes it a bit bigger when I come home. It makes the grass in the front yard feel softer. It makes the wood stove smell in the air that much sweeter. It makes those beautiful mountains and warm green fields that much more lovely.

Our lives are given to us to fill with different and exciting experiences. We are here because we intended to evolve and grow. We are meant to look at the obstacles… put on our hiking boots, pack plenty of water and go out and hike the mountain. We are meant to find our way. We are meant to leave the nest and venture out into the unknown.

Why? Why would we do these things if our home base is so good?

Because when we do them we grow. We have fun, we face fears, we learn. We learn about ourselves, about others, we learn that we are all so incredibly different, but we are also all the same. We learn what it means to be a person and that’s no small lesson.

I think that we all have wanderlust in us. It’s part of our nature. We aren’t meant to stay still all the time.

But what I’m seeing that is so important is what happens when we return “home”. It reminds us of why we took the journey in the first place. When we leave, it makes us appreciate the stability of home and in the ones who we leave behind. We love having a place to come back to, people who are always there for us and waiting with open arms and a comfortable bed. And that’s not to say that the ones who stay home do it forever… we are all always coming and going. But how can we ever appreciate what we have if we never leave?

Have you ever had a thought about a building, thinking “this may be the last time I ever set foot in here”? Several years ago when I was let go from my day job, I remembered looking at the building I had worked in for over 7 years with a bittersweet melancholy feeling that was summed up in that thought.
Then in a few years (or months?) we do a drive by. We sit in the parking lot and just look and remember. We drive past our old apartment and look at how the neighbors kept up with the garden. We show our kids where we went to school.

And it feels good.
Because we have to leave to see it.
It’s a beautiful feeling when you can look back at the people and the places in your life with soft joy. Bless the experiences… thank them, know they all served a purpose and were part of the bigger plan. We are always right where we’re supposed to be aren’t we?

I told my husband a few weeks ago as we were driving home from the grocery store in Norfolk – where we live now… “I’m comfortable. I’m happy here. I’m at the place… where if we left, I’d miss it here.”

We’re always building memories and we never know how long we have with the people and the places. Look around you, love the ones you have in your life, and love the places you frequent.

Even the familiar is still temporary.

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