I was tempted to entitle this article, “Reason #21 to Keep Living: Coming Home to My Own Bed,” as in the past few days after returning from my travels I have been continually trying to convince myself not to indulge in long afternoon naps while recovering from jet lag.
But there’s more to coming home than collapsing into your own bed and remembering what a good sleep feels like. There’s family, of course, and the familiarity of sharing a meal with them. There’s familiarity in everything, actually — you suddenly know the rules of how to eat and dress and talk to people. There’s food you forgot you missed and clothes you forgot you had and books you forgot you wanted to read and stories you forgot you were writing. There’s an entire life waiting in limbo for you, ready to wrap you up and remind you what comfortableness feels like, what a regular rhythm feels like, what ordinariness feels like.
You arrive home after travelling, after learning, after changing, and stumble bewildered into a room filled with your things and think, “Is this my room? Is this my life? Is this me?”
Along with being exhausted, I feel disjointed and awkward coming home. I feel stagnant and slow. I feel like I left a part of myself behind in Japan and now the rest of me is tripping to keep up with a life I built for my whole, complete self, not a ragged piece of it.
Being home, I look back on my travels and find them startling and impossible and beautiful in their impossibility. I have goals and desires now that I didn’t have before. I have the hint of a plan to finish my degree so I can teach English in Asia. I have a passion to learn a language I never thought I could love.
Gaining this new perspective is reason enough to come home, and it is reason enough to keep living.
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