Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unfamiliar in the familiar

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. ~Nelson Mandela

I've lived in a few places, so I can tell you how strange it is to return. There will be some things that have changed, necessities of time. But there will be aspects of your former home that will remain the same. The strangest part about that is that you'll find that how you feel about the unaltered is much different than before. Maybe it's the sense of familiarity that has faded. Maybe it's that you simply feel that yourself has become unfamiliar to that place. You are different. This place is the same.

Perhaps the greatest change is that you realize that memories often expand the importance, the sense of home, even the scale of certain things about what was once home. The memory improved upon the circumstances, making them more worthwhile in the remembering. And you return to find that, while still worth remembering, perhaps it wasn't as you exactly remembered it to begin with.

Consider that, perhaps, you find yourself more self-realized, more complex, different than you once were. And this could only have occurred if you were willing to leave. Maybe it's in the returning that you realize your own difference from who and what you once were.

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