I had a strange moment this weekend. I headed home for a high school friend’s bachelorette weekend, and while it was wonderful to see friends and family, I couldn’t help but feel slightly disjointed and abruptly aware that this place no longer felt like home.
I grew up close to the Tennessee-North Carolina border in a very small town where everyone knows everyone. My family has been there for generations. I now live in Raleigh, and though it is not a huge city, it still is so much bigger than my hometown. During my years in college I fell in love with Raleigh, and after I graduated I decided to stay.
That being said, I rarely go home anymore. Maybe once every couple of months at best.
And there was something about meeting up with the group of friends I was with my entire adolescence and reuniting in our hometown that really made me realize how much I have changed since graduating high school. I am no longer the girl who dates all the wrong guys, or who wears band t-shirts and studded belts (yes, that happened), and furthermore I am no longer the girl who covered her bedroom wall with fashion magazine cutouts or stayed up till 3 or 4 in the morning messaging people on myspace (again, yes that happened and myspace was cool once upon a time).
While some things haven’t changed (I still have a hard time keeping my room clutter-free), I couldn’t help but be aware of the disconnect. My teenage bedroom no longer felt like my room. My room was no longer the one painted blue and green with Beatles memorabilia on the wall. My room was back in Raleigh, with my guitar in one corner and my records in another.
But that blue room was mine for the majority of my life thus far. What a strange thing to have this lasting reminder of who you were, compared with how you are now.
I know my feelings come purely from my own evolution, since things rarely change in my home town. A painting my dad did on a wall of the high school in the 70’s is still there. And Main Street still looks like something out of movie.
And I still take comfort in knowing everything will pretty much be the same each time I visit, but it is sad to no longer feel connected with the place that raised me. I suppose that is part of growing up. And I’m proud to say that all the changes that have occurred in my life since then have been positive.
And maybe some day I’ll move back. Maybe even retire there. Until then, I’m happy to be back in Raleigh, in my city, in my room.