Home is where the heart is. It’s a saying that will always remind me of a good movie by Natalie Portman. The title conveys a deep meaning about whatever place we consider our home. It is not a place, a city, or a house. A home is where we feel we belong, and where we feel at peace. Home is a state of mind.
I’m an expatriate, a pseudo-immigrant of sorts. By choice, I’ve left my hometown, my old stomping grounds, my friends and family, and my social network. I’ve left my safety net in a way and strove to ford the waters of uncertainty alone, dragging along my small family. I haven’t seriously thought of going back home except in moments of extreme despair and hopelessness.
Along the way I’ve encountered many who are plagued with homesickness and nostalgia. Those who believe that wherever they are right now and wherever they may go later in life is only a series of temporary stops along a circular road that will take them back home. They believe it will be there waiting for them just as they remember.
On the other hand, many people travel away from their home out of necessity, for lack of opportunity, and in seeking adventure and experience. They cut the umbilical cord attaching them to the safe and familiar and take their chances with life.
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. —Heraclitus
I’ve always loved this quote. It is a profoundly wise depiction of why it’s pointless to ever consider that we can relive a memory from the past in the present. We cannot step into that old river no matter what.
Nothing and no one stays the same.
The people and places that we have dwelling in our memories with fondness and nostalgic attachment are only right there; in our memories. They have moved on for better or worse farther away from the snapshot of remembrance we took with us when we parted.
People are the sum total of their experiences and education which sets and dyes whatever perspective they hold on life. We all grow, and people, whether we like it or not, do change. You are never the same person who stepped into that old river once upon a time.
Cities and communities grow and change according to the types of people who live in them. People demographics change based on the economy, and whatever good or bad incentives pulling them in or pushing them away. Entropy eats away at buildings with the same ferocity that it devours the soul of a city. It is no longer the same good old river.
“You can’t come back to something that is gone.” —Richard Powers, The Overstory
I think it’s ridiculous to say that things used to be better in the good old times when we were younger. Our parents used to say the very same thing. I believe that all times are the best of times for someone and the worst of times for someone else, all at the same time.
We only think of things and people as good or bad in the light of our expectations.
Nostalgic people expect that everything will remain as an exact replica of their memories. Alas, reality will always set in.
Whether we all like it or not, we’re never going to be the same person tomorrow as we were yesterday and anywhere we go is forever going to be different every single time we visit.
I’m not saying do not hold on to the meaning and warmth that fill your heart when a memory flashes in your mind. It’s just that trying to manifest those moments into reality again with hope and expectation is a painful sobering mistake.
Cherish everyone and everything that holds a special place in your heart and know that you will always take them with you everywhere you go.
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