Prioritizing People, Not Things
Last night I flew back to my hometown in Michigan where I will be staying until Sunday. While riding in the backseat of the car with my parents from the airport, I was hit by a strong feeling of nostalgia. Knowing I would be returning to the old, red, brick home where I spent my childhood, sleeping in the twin-sized bed of my adolescence. But instead of an overwhelming sense of familiarity after stepping foot inside, I noticed the emptiness. Artificial and hollow, walls painted a stark white in preparation of selling the home and only a few things remained that hinted that I had ever lived here. At the same time, I was hit with the realization that the number of opportunities to return to this place were growing smaller and smaller. Wait. Wasn’t this how I always felt when I came home? Why did I always forget.
I felt out of place in my old neighborhood although little had changed since I left for college years ago. It was like putting on a shoe that was a size to small. Why was I here? I was perfectly content with my life in Minneapolis. Making the trip back home to see my parents has become more difficult since entering the working world due to limited vacation and the cost of airfare. And then I remembered that I didn’t come for the environment, I never liked the ambiance of suburban life.
It seems strange that I had to remind myself that the money and material wealth I had accumulated after college was meaningless without people to share it with. Yet this seems like an all to common scenario in the modern world. It’s so easy to tune out, get lost in the daily grind. The list of excuses which cause us to not maintain personal relationships only grows longer with age. Struggle against becoming too busy to spend time with your family and maintaining social bonds with friends in far away places. Those that do only live to regret it.
How do I feel right now? Grateful. Grateful to know that there are people who want to see and spend time with me when I come home. And the worries about the money I spent to get to my destination? Those have already melted away, just as quickly as they sprung up.