Turns out you can come home again.
But it will cost you.
What it will cost you is a matter of what you put in to the decision to leave home in the first place.
Did you leave home out of fear? Fear that you’d never amount to anything there. Was it too small to contain you? Constantly running to the edges of town like a Bruce Springsteen song. Was it wanderlust? The kind of wanderlust seeing all the home towns on earth can’t cover.
Coming home is the abandonement or the fullfillment of dreams. And sometimes circrumstances bigger than yourself bring you home.
And you come home crawling on your knees or dragging those broken dreams behind you like souvenirs and scars.
There’s a bit of loathing that happens in the weeks and months after you show up back on your old doorstep. But it gradually subsides as the familiar surroundings recapture your imagination.
And you discover the many things you took for granted before. The places where you did not go, because you were looking too far down the road. The friendships you thought were stronger than time and distance.
You rebuild your life, making small adjustments to improve your trajectory. You pick up but not where you left off. It’s somewhere left of that.
You watch the people who never left, and you wonder if you did the right thing. For a little while, and then you remember why you left.
Again, and again, as you lay in bed at night.
You come home over and over, with all the shame of failure hanging around like the cobwebs on your stuff stored in the nooks and crannies of your former life.
But you watch your children shuffle the game pieces of their lives, and this isn’t their home town.
Not yet, anyway.
And maybe not ever.
Only now, a year after we returned home, do I count the costs and measure the impacts of our sojourn.
I can tally them up on a sheet of paper or just feel them mentally and physically every moment of every day.
I can also appreciate the great benefits of coming home again, though where they stack up against the costs, I leave that for future generations to figure out, if they ever dig down to this layer.
You can come home again, but should you?
If you answer this, then you know where I’ve been.