It’s the third time I’m having to say this today, and it’s not getting any easier, but yesterday on my flight back to NYC, I read the most recent Cosmo. I subscribe, I get it every month, and I hardly ever read it. I read the Zooey Dechanel issue in October, because I love her, and I was blown away (for the hundredth time) by how guy-centric it all is. 10 Love Moves to Turn Him to Mush, Make His 4 Sex Wishes Come True, Scents No Guy Can Resist (these are all real). Now yes, I agree it’s good to smell nice. And it’s even nicer when your guy thinks you smell nice. But come on.
But as I was skimming through the December Cosmo, a few of the pieces actually caught my eye. One in particular was about going home for the holidays, and how it can effect your psyche. I don’t have the article in front of me, but to paraphrase: When people go home, back to their parents house, and into their childhood room, they often revert back to who they were when they existed in that place. Part of this is based on location, but the other is based on people’s roles within the family. Growing up, my parents would remind me to stop thinking the best of people all the time (it was one of my biggest problems). That sometimes, it’s smart to keep your guard up. To always re-evaluate situations over and over to ensure that people aren’t taking advantage of you. This may sound a little dreary, but it’s true. And their advice kept me from getting trampled (at least most of the time). I took their words to heart, and kept them at the forefront of my mind during my teenage/early adult years. And from what I can see, it has helped me a in a lot of ways. And I feel stronger, more steadfast, and more equipped to deal with all sorts of people. But my parents, God bless them, still think of me as the naive, malleable little girl I was when I lived at home. Sometimes. Even though I’m not. Or at least I think I’m not.
Or am I?
Every time I go home, I am reminded of who I was. The events, places, people who made me the person I am today. My high school extracurriculars, which showed me that I can create something big and bring it to life. Volunteer work, which introduced me to a much harsher world that one I’d ever known. The friend whose intolerance made me incredibly sensitive to people in all situations. The co-worker who opened my eyes to the importance of a college education – and the fact that many people would never get one. The teacher who told me I could go anywhere in the world. The boy who taught me what it was to love. And I realize how lucky I was, and I am, to have experienced all of this. How lucky the current me is to have a full, happy, close-knit family. To have a boy that loves me to call when I feel lonely at night.
But what I realized on the plane ride back last night, is that I’m also very lucky I remember who I was (and to have people to remind me in case I forget). And keep that littler, sillier, dreamier girl safe and sound inside me. To allow a bit of naiveté and idealism to peek out from behind my “hardened” (hyperbole, obvs) “adult” exterior, and still believe that people are wonderful, often victims of circumstance, and that hundreds of beautiful opportunities lie ahead.
This is why I love going home. Because everyone should be able to step away from the current, and go back to their roots (or in this case, rooms). It really is humbling.