Recently, I took a week-long trip to my hometown of eighteen years after a three-year hiatus in South Carolina, where I currently live. The only words I can use to describe the situation are enlightening, depressing, and underwhelming. When you live somewhere for a significant portion of your life, move away, and then go back, you will most likely be disappointed, depending on where this location is. The place where I made so many fond memories was no longer my base, and therefore no longer felt like home. It was an almost alien feeling, as if I had fallen into a parallel universe where people no longer work towards any goal, any ideal, and just sort of stagnate at the same level of awareness and maturity for many, many years until the inevitable happens.
I stayed with my good childhood friend who, to my surprise, rejected a full scholarship to a university of his choice to work in a nursing home stocking food and other items. He lives in the apartment above his father’s which does not have a shower, a washer/dryer (neither does his father), air conditioning, carpeting, real furniture, anywhere comfortable to sit, etc., etc. The one thing I really missed the most was the central air conditioning, something we take for granted in South Carolina. In Myrtle Beach, everything is new, everything is appeasing to the eye. In Rhode Island, everything is old, nothing looks nice, it is all one disappointment after another. At least in the city in which I stayed. To be honest, I never really cared for that city, but it was my home. Maybe my memories of that place were exaggerated to make it seem like it was a great venue.
For the second half of the trip, I just kept saying to myself, “It will be over soon. It will be over soon.” My friend has lost his path, and the sad thing is, he cannot even have a meaningful conversation. Every time I tried to discuss things like purpose or what he was going to do with his life, he would shrug it off like the plague, and he could not be serious. I’ve worked on myself for the past two to three years and going back there and seeing someone who had not matured or raised his awareness one centimeter really saddened me, but at this point, I do not know how to help him because he has not indicated he wants or needs help in getting his life in order. It could be his context about reality that is holding him back. I don’t know, but all I can really say is I hopefully will never go back to that city because, honestly, there is not much there for me.
I remember reading a short story about this guy who grew up in the South Boston housing projects and witnessed four or five of his brothers’ deaths while he was growing up, moved away, and was so anxious to come back because even though it was a terrible place, it was his home. I canot say, for one moment, that I feel the same way. When I was in it, when it was my reality, it was acceptable because it had to be. Now that I am in a much nicer, more comfortable area, I can finally see my old hometown the way an outsider would see it, and now I can move on to bigger and better things. Now that I am back home and in the environment where growth is abundant.
I don’t mean to come down on my hometown, but now that I went back, I can see why people are depressed. I can see why some situations can cause problems and I feel for those who are trapped in a similar situation because I felt trapped up there in Rhode Island, away from my normal life, away from all the things I hold dear to myself, especially my family. I wish I had a way to get through to my friend that living in what I called “a third-world country” in a terrible city is not the best life he could hope for, but as long as he remains to look content with his surroundings, in his average, meaningless life, where he looks out only for short-term graatification and never looks for the future, I have to bite my tongue and let him go.
That is all for now. Stay tuned for uplfting posts as I get myself back to peace and away from depression.
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