When Home Moves On Without You
We are creatures who thrive on change, and yet we despise when it happens without us.
By Heidi Priebe
The hardest part of leaving a place that you once loved is that once you are absent for a long enough period of time, home inevitably moves on without you. Peers meet new partners and start settling down. Friend groups disperse and fall apart. Family moves away, coworkers find new jobs, and though it happens gradually, you will inevitably turn around one day to find that the place you once called ‘home’ possesses almost none of the qualities that once earned it that title.
The houses you once lived in have new occupants. The bars you once frequented shut down. The physical layout of a place may remain unchanged but you have somehow lost all ownership over it. Everything you once held onto so tightly has inexplicably found a way to belong to something else.
The only thing worse than being homesick for a place is being homesick for a time period that has passed. It is a longing that no over-priced plane ticket or long-distance phone call can satisfy. It’s the ongoing, lingering regret that had you only stuck around and tried to keep your home together, you could have. It’s the foolhardy notion that nothing ever would have altered if you had only been there to hold it in place. It’s the nonsensical assumption that you could ever have stayed happy with a perfectly static life.
We are creatures who thrive on change, and yet we despise when it happens without us. The idea that we can spend years building ourselves into a community, only to have it go on existing and expanding once we’ve left is destructive to our fragile egos. We all want to be the sole catalysts of change. We want to make drastic changes that leave big, gaping holes in our wake. We don’t want those holes filled in. We would all like nothing more than for the entire world to stay exactly as it is while we ourselves go on evolving.
When we go home to find that our own past has outgrown us, it is hard to make sense of what we’re left with. It feels like heading back out into the world without a safety net. The place we once coveted on the nights when nostalgia overtook us is no longer a tangible destination. It is a place that…