It’s funny that the day my current town is named a Top 20 Small Town by the Smithsonian, I am missing the very town that Smithsonian is synonymous with. I’m never sure why it happens nor can I predict when it will, but it just keeps coming. No matter how long I am away and how fervently I declare I’m never going back, I still get sick for my old home.
It is different from missing other places. For instance the first crisp sunny day of every fall and the first warm week of spring, I miss my college town with an ache so deep that I’ve almost hopped in a car and driven the miles to get there. But that feeling, that ache, has everything to do with what life was like there-nearly perfect in its innocence. It is the same reason on cool summer nights I miss running the streets of Federal Hill in Baltimore. Because life then was grand and who wouldn’t miss that.
The homesickness I get for old Silver Spring or even DC is different. It’s missing my history, my old and dear friends, my familiar streets, the haunts of my youth and the beginnings of my adult life. I miss the elementary school where I hung out and drank warm beer with my high school friends. I miss my old church, that will always feel like home no matter how much it changes. I miss reading Springbrook scores in the newspaper and knowing The Husband could take the kids to see his Alma Mater play on the field right near our house one Saturday a year.
I miss my kids’ first friends, who by the glory of Facebook, I have had the priviledge of watching grow but to my children have become strangers. I miss my old babysitter and her little boy and wish they were here now, when I really could use them again. I miss girls’ nights with the girls that have known me forever and the new neighbors who felt like old friends as we helped ourselves to eachothers kitchen cabinet contents and wine on Friday nights. I miss shopping with my sisters once a year at outlet malls and the outdoor pool at the Y.
The thing is, I didn’t like myself much when I lived there. I spent most of my time in Maryland figuring trying to be MORE and being mostly disappointed in who I was. It seemed I never measured up to whatever ideal I was holding myself too, be it as a high school achiever, an respected teacher or a new mom, I was never a big fan of me.
Here? Well, it’s different. I’ve stretched and grown and really dared to do things I never had the courage to do before. Moving to a strange place and having to create a life has a way of making one a little less timid about trying new things. It’s hard to feel bad about what you’ve accomplished when everyday feels like an accomplishment.
Maybe that’s what I miss-not having to try so hard. Because for better or worse, in Maryland I knew who I was. I knew where I belonged. I knew where I fit and what was meant for me whether I liked it or not.
Here? I’m still figuring it all out, who I am, where I it and what is meant for me. Nearly every day there is something new and while it is mostly exciting and I’m grateful for it, it can be a lonely proposition, one that might leave someone a little sick from time to time.
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