Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reflection Pool

I would like to get one thing out in the open. One fact that I think most people over look in their rush of everyday life. Working, chores, shopping, bills, and decisions mask it. I am sure that if this break in my life had not have come about I would be just the same. If I went straight from undergraduate to graduate work or right into a normal job, the forward momentum of my life would have stopped me from reflecting and coming upon this revelation: Growing up is weird.
Usually a person in their early twenties does not have time to reflect on the oddness of it all. However, my mind which is use to having a thousand things floating around in it now is unoccupied. Which leads me to thinking about lots of things that usually do not get priority. The sorts of random thoughts that pop up when you are waiting for a pot of water to boil and your mind is adrift, but those thoughts are quickly discarded when you remember that you haven't called your mom in two weeks or that you haven't done laundry yet this month. 
Recently I have been reflecting on my hometown. I had one of those epiphany moments where I begun to mull over the idea of my childhood home actually being a bit on the odd side. This idea has popped up before when I tried to explain the city to others who did not grow up there. Now that I am living in a different city, different state, different part of the country, I have thought even more about the place where I grew up. According to acquaintances that still live there I have joined the coveted ranks of "those you have gotten out". 
Now a few things about my hometown. It is first a college town, but it is not a "college town". There are three four year colleges plus several community colleges. However, I never believed it really defined my town. The town was not there because of the universities and many people lived there without any ties to any of them. However, I had never lived anywhere where there wasn't a university and man do I know realize how much it might have been a factor in my life.
Don't get me wrong I love where I live. I do love being so close to a major city, but I never realized what actually living in a suburban area without those thousands of college age kids does. As teenagers and college kids we always complained there was nothing to do in our town. We bemoaned the lack of good music scene. We hated that there wasn't a decent game shop (Toys R Us does NOT count). 
Now I do have some of those things. I can go into Seattle for music and well game shops are everywhere here. However, now the world falls asleep at 8pm. I never realized I'd miss college folks so much. Only thing open past 10pm is the 24 hour QFC (Kroger). I can't go out for pancakes at 1 am if I want to or coffee for that matter. I live minutes from the coffee capital of the US, but I can't get a latte after 7 pm.  
I am sure someone out there is screaming at their screen "But you live minutes from a big city! Can't you just hop over there." Yes, yes but that means planning and deciding and driving quite a bit more than one would want to for an impromptu coffee or stack of pancakes late at night. Also I have yet to fully master the city. That is one of the goals of the summer. Spending enough time in the city that it begins to be familiar. 
The moral to this little revelation? Sometimes I believe we are too hard on our hometowns.
We always believe everything will be better when we move away. Anyplace must be better than this one. When in reality everyplace has its downfall. We do not realize this until we move away and reflect. I miss my 24 hour diners and late night coffee shops. 
However, I love my new home with wonderful abandon. Evergreen trees! Mountains! Lake Washington! I love the community and the culture. I would not give it up now. But then again nothing here seems older than 1950. It makes me miss the early 20th century architecture of my hometown. So next time you begin to go on about how much you can't wait to leave your hometown. "Anywhere must be better than here!" Remember, you might have to eat your some degree. 

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