I live in a twin, and my neighbors on the other side have decided to double the space on their side (which was already bigger than our half) and completely change the image of the house I once called home.
This wouldn’t be a big deal to me if I still lived at home, but now, it serves as a reminder that things at home will change without me. My house has been the constant in my life — I’ve never moved or left my house for too long. So, as I make this grand transition into college, my house makes a grand transition itself. This isn’t the only thing that will change in my old domain. Before I come home officially for the summer, there will be a new gigantic Wawa, a remodel of the local McDonald’s, and my favorite breakfast place is adding a new location closer to my home. Meanwhile, here I am in Rochester.
I and my home will meet again, completely different than how we left each other. Change doesn’t scare me, but not being there for it does. Instead of watching a gradual progression, I will come back and see the changes at bigger intervals, everything seeming much more drastic than before. The predictability of childhood and adolescence is gone, and instead I have to hope on each bus ride home that nothing changed too much. But the reality is, one day my home will seem more like an old friend than the back of my hand. In time, I will not come home every two months or so, but twice a year. When that time comes, I will remember its sidewalks and roads, but the buildings and its inhabitants will become mostly foreign to me. And I to it as well.
As a child, I couldn’t imagine ever leaving my small Pennsylvania suburb. In eighth grade, one of my classmates came up to me and asked where I wanted to live when I grew up. When I responded, “Here probably,” they scoffed at me like that was ridiculous. But it was the truth: I really couldn’t see myself living anywhere else at that time. Even when I was preparing to leave a little over a month ago, I couldn’t see myself not at home. It felt as though I couldn’t function outside of the world that has been completely and entirely mine.
But here I am, over 300 miles away from home. And sometimes it’s hard, but this change is a chance to make a new world for myself, in a new place that I get to see change while I do, too.
It is safe at home, where I can walk around my house in the dark and draw the floor plan with my eyes closed. But my younger self would be giddy with the idea of me taking classes and meeting new people in a faraway place. Just because this isn’t the life I had planned for, doesn’t mean it isn’t the one I want. Sometimes the best change is the change that you can’t control or see, and sometimes it’s the change you just let happen. Even when it’s right next to home.