The house has been different of late. Felt differently, too. It seems empty although it isn’t. Mom has been in the US for quite some time now. We sisters manage having the house all to ourselves, looking after ‘home’ stuff and, well, of each other.
Now, waking up everyday brings thoughts I would hardly entertain if I were in another time in the past, particularly in smaller pajamas. Childhood was colored with morning cartoons and playing outside and discoveries that made my young self giddy with wide eyes and little, grand episodes of whoa-look-at-that tugging of somebody else’s shirt. It was a carefree time. And I didn’t even know you have to pay for cable tv, and that there are such things as credit cards.
Sometimes I wish life was as simple. Now, I’d open my eyes in the morning and reminisce about how things have changed—the ceiling looks closer, the furniture are smaller, and I don’t have to jump anymore or stand on my toes to see myself in the wall mirror.
How ironic is that? As a child, I thought of the world as a vast universe filled with so many unfamiliar things I’m excited to explore. Everything looked gigantic and limitless. Growing up, you’d expect it to be even bigger, not to mention, endless. But knowledge and experience make you think otherwise. As we learn, the world becomes smaller; perhaps because we acquire a sense of knowing and control over things. Then, at one point, we become frustrated and ask, “Is there anything else out there?'”
“But there was plenty supply of anythings out there when I was young.”
As I was contemplating this thought over breakfast recently, I realized I was being unkind to myself, and that all other people who succumb to self-indulgent thoughts of being bored about life, are also being unkind to themselves. Why would we even go about comparing our present state with our previous state?
The mysterious truth is no matter how things change, the important things remain the same. And these things, once you’ve figured them out, and you’ve taken them all in, deserve a celebration, with little songs of gratitude here and there.
Yes we learn, we become independent, we grow past the people we used to (literally) look up to, and we become confident in conquering the world. But is there truly a world to ‘conquer’? I say none. Because the world is bursting with the same colors and a-ha moments and fits of laughter we experienced as a child. To direct our lives toward a finish line takes the life, out of, well…life. It’s best to view the world as we would the time we’re learning to ride a bike or fly a kite—big, curious, wonderful, exhilarating, with endless tomorrows and thousands of opportunities to learn, fail, succeed, get hurt, be loved, and laugh at ourselves from time to time.
At 22 years old, to me, the world is inviting. Although family members are moving out of the house, and new members are joining (*excitement*) faster than one could imagine, and old habits are dying (Phoebe now comes to me when I call her name! Thanks to The Dog Whisperer - YAY), and new interests are brewing, life as we know it is the same.
How fascinating time’s intricate way of transporting us to places both unfamiliar and familiar. Even more fascinating is that single, majestic, and immensely gratifying moment we realize that we haven’t really gone far. That we have always been that young child looking up at the sky wondering why it’s blue, always imagining what’s on the other side.
Studying the frames of family photo in my parents’ room, I embrace change and let go of fears that my adult self has created out of needless nostalgia. Home is never lost, I tell myself.
I understand now that houses will look and feel different over time. But the true treasures and dreams we grow up with do not have to.
(I realize this post should come with a soundtrack. And this song by Priscilla Ahn, I believe, just hits home. :) )