As you know, Spring Break is this week, and tomorrow is Easter, meaning my break will soon be over. On Monday morning, I will be heading back to school to finish my final month of sophomore year. Knowing that I’m just about half way through my undergraduate experience is rather odd. Sometimes I feel like I’m at a standstill, watching the months go by as I wait for something bigger to happen. Maybe I’m trying to pause time so I can really enjoy my time at Saint Mary’s before I move on. I’m not sure, but what I do know is that coming home for breaks feels different than it did only a short year ago.
Last year I felt like I still had so much time ahead of me. Every time I came home I realized that I was so happy to be away at school, experiencing a new area and new people, and I still feel that way. However, there is now a sense of routine in coming home and going back to school. Neither experience is as thrilling or filled with new stories and events and people. I feel like I’m really figuring out who I am, which is why I think coming home feels different. Home is supposed to be where the heart is, right? I think there is truth in that because your family is at home, and a ton of memories, but I think this changes a bit when you leave and find happiness elsewhere.
I think something I’ve noticed is that I enjoy my family more when I feel secure with my life. Last year I was still getting to know all of my “college friends,” so I was always so eager to get back and continue getting to know them. And if I’m being honest, since I wasn’t single last year, I was eager to get back to someone in particular. But now that I’m secure with where I am and who is in my life, and now that I’m 100% confident that my friendships aren’t going to alter if I’m away from my friends for a few days, I thoroughly enjoy my time at home. I’m comfortable sitting on my couch with my dog, talking to my mom about life, watching Scandal or Vampire Diaries until 11pm, and just being. There is so much less stress when I’m home. I no longer come home and wish I could be back at school. Maybe this is a negative, but I think it’s more of having security. When you know that the people in your life aren’t going anywhere, it makes it easier to be completely present. No worrying about what might happen while you’re out of touch.
There are times when I feel like it’s been so long since I was in high school, living at home full time. Then there are other moments when I feel weird going back to school, weird about leaving my family. The habits you keep when you’re not living at home full time are even kind of funny. My family lost our puppy, Riley, at the beginning of this school year, but every time I enter the house from the garage, I pause, waiting for him to try to run out to greet us. It’s been seven months or so, and I still do it. I guess old habits really do die hard.
You might laugh, but you know that song by Miranda Lambert “The House That Built Me?” Pretty much my theme song when I’m homesick. Sometimes you just need to return to your roots, and get some quality time with the family to remember where you came from, and really evaluate where you’re going (and if it’s somewhere you want to go). As I’ve probably exhausted in previous posts, this semester is rather exhausting. It’s the first semester in my time at college where I’m not taking any “for pleasure” classes, and it’s the first semester where I feel really tired a majority of the time. Regardless, I think I’ll be recharged when I return come Monday because spending time with my family allows me to rest, reflect, plan, and reminds me of my goals. I know some people aren’t freakishly linked to their family, and they don’t NEED their family to feel secure and happy. I, however, need my family. I love spending time with them because they’re crazy, and they talk over each other, and they make the funniest jokes, and they love me unconditionally every day, and when they say they’re proud of me I’m reminded that seemingly mediocre semesters have purpose.
I love coming home, and I wish I would have cherished my trips home last year. It’s important to be mentally and physically present when you’re spending time with the people that will always love you. I’m not trying to be preachy, but I’m just saying that when you’re in college, or living away from your hometown, remember to love the time you spend at home or with your family. As for me, I’m going to continue drinking my cup of tea, re-watching season 2 of Scandal, and skimming The New York Times. Did I forget to mention time at home is great for multitasking? Doing all the things you don’t have time to do while at school or work?