Return of the Native, or, You Can Go Home Again

Last week, I returned to California, for the first time since I moved away, in Nov. 2015. It probably won’t surprise anyone when I confess I was a bit nervous before the trip, filled with trepidation about what it would be like to go to the place I still considered home, and then, leave again.
This may sound weird, but in my mind, while I had moved forward and created this new life, everything back home had somehow frozen and stayed the same. It’s not a very logical concept, but while I have stayed very connected to the people I left behind, my goodness, I talk to some of them more than I did when I lived there, I had not given any attention or thought to the place itself and how I might fit back in to it.
It’s a little surreal to return to the place where you have spent 98.2% of your life (I used a calculator to figure that out), and feel like a visitor, but that’s how it felt. While the people, my family and friends, all remain the same as they ever were, in a very good way, the places no longer felt like I belonged to them. I was a stranger in a familiar land. It was odd and a little unsettling.
It was a quick visit, and the time moved too quickly. But I did get to spend some lovely time with my parents, attend the traditional Thanksgiving feast with my usual branch of family, have dinner with my brother and his wife, and share a couple of too quick meals with close friends. Plus I got to check out my friend Lea’s amazing new restaurant, Claudine’s, so very proud of this sweet girl who I have known for decades! And, as the final cherry on the sundae, I got to spend two days laughing myself silly and basically acting like a 13 year old with my best friend.
As great as the visit was, it wasn’t as hard to leave as I had expected. The worst part about my move is missing my people, and saying goodbye to them is never easy. But I know I’ll see them again, some sooner than others, they’ll visit me, and I’ll continue to visit them. However, now I have people on the East Coast, and I missed them too. I missed my dog, my house, my life. It felt good coming back to it, to the place I belong now.
I don’t know what the future holds, nobody does. I’ve said I don’t plan to “grow old” in the East, meaning at some far away point, when I can finally retire, I expect to head back West, to the warmth and to my family. But it won’t be going home, it will be creating the next new life. For now, my life is in Massachusetts, and I am home again.
The end, for now

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