A Letter To Home
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A Letter To Home

Sometimes it takes coming home to feel whole again.

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A Letter To Home
Alyssa Mattison

It seems that the older we get, the greater our impulses grow to get as far away from home as possible. After graduation, some travel the world, go backpacking across Europe, join the Armed Forces or volunteer for global non-profits. Others pack their belongings into a 225 square foot dorm room and tell their parents they'll see them on Thanksgiving. As time passes, we make new friends, branch out and find interests other than the high school extracurriculars that once defined us. We gravitate towards change and crave each new experience more than the last, thinking that the more we see, explore, and identify with, the more complete we're going to feel.

But I think that, sometimes, what we're so desperately searching for out there could be as easily found in the places we began. The things we run away from—lack of purpose, fear, heartbreak, failure...—don't just stay behind where we've left them. At the end of the day we look in the mirror to find that they've become a part of us, these bits and pieces we carry around, the cracks in our armor that only we're aware of. Coming home means accepting these messy parts of our past selves and merging new adventures with the memories that first shaped us. Sometimes it takes coming home to feel whole again.

It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what's changed is you. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

So thank you, to the house I grew up in with the prom photos still scattered throughout the living room. To the Christmas wreaths and garlands strung down the staircase with the big red bows that my mom continues to put up each year. Thanks for the boxes of VHS tapes and participation trophies in the attic, the Barbie dolls I used to spend hours playing with. To the small town that's stayed the same all these years, a fact that I used to resent. The football games, pasta dinners, and Homecoming dances I took for granted and the local restaurants you could always find a familiar face at. Thank you for giving me someplace to return to when the real world starts to feel scary, and for always keeping me grounded.

So the next time you're home, revisit these memories. Drive down the backroads that lead to your old high school, hike to your favorite viewpoint and take pictures of the trees that have changed since you last saw them. Watch holiday movies with your parents, eat a home-cooked meal and feel like a kid again. Learn to appreciate where you came from, and take home with you wherever you go.



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