Besides seeing dear friends, I made a new one! Her name is Rexy and she is my brothers dog. She was my best buddy while I was there. She always sat by me and she loved the walks I took her on every day. I grew so attached to her I actually teared up a bit when I had to leave. This is a little embarrassing, but last night I had a dream she was sleeping by me lol. Yeah, we were close.
Being with my brother was probably the best part, the last time I saw him didn't go as planned so to replace that time with these new memories is great. I also got to hang out with some cousins who live in Salinas now, and I got to see my Aunt Charlyn too!
The purpose for my visit was to go to my friend Amanda's wedding. I've known Amanda since I was like 20 and she was 15. On August 18th she married her long-time boyfriend James. It was a GREAT wedding. The ceremony was awesome and the perfect length, the food was good, the wedding cheesecake bites were to DIE FOR, and above all, Amanda looked gorgeous and happy. There were a lot of people I know in the same place, although I could count on one hand the ones I knew well enough to converse with lol. Amanda and I haven't been in contact in a few years but she is very precious to me and I'm glad I got to be there at the wedding.
Being back in Salinas proved something I already knew to be true for me: I can't go home again
According to a quote on Wikipedia,
"The phrase “you can’t go home again” has entered American speech to mean that once you have left your country town or provincial backwater city for a sophisticated metropolis you can’t return to the narrow confines of your previous way of life and, more generally, attempts to relive youthful memories will always fail. It has been suggested that the phrase is sometimes spoken to mean that you can’t return to your place of origin without being deemed a failure."
I agree with the second part, that if you were to move back home most people would view you (and you yourself) as a failure. To move back to what is familiar and/or a comfort zone is to declare to the world "I've given up." I had two friends suggest I move back to the area I spent 24 years of my existence. There are a few reasons why I can't, but the main reason is I like Southern California, I don't want to be anywhere else. I may not like where my life is at very much right now, but at least I'm in the area I want to be in. But how this phrase is true to me, is that I feel like I can't go home again and it still feel like home. First, my parents no longer live in my childhood home, I won't even drive by it because it would make me sad. So when I go to Monterey County I don't even stay in Gonzales, I stay in Salinas. I don't have a "home" to go home to. Second, I have moved on, I don't feel like the same person when I visit and that's probably because I'm not the same person. I feel like a stranger in a place that still feels more or less the same, but I no longer fit in.
To move back would for me, (and I emphasize me) be a step back. It would be admitting defeat and a lot of my hope would disappear. There would be SOME pros (my brother, a few family and friends, familiarity of the area) but there isn't anything for me in the Salinas Valley. I've grown up enough to know that to move back would be denying who I am as an individual.
I thought a lot about what "home" means because my life has been anything but stable this year, and when you go to weddings it gets you thinking about the kind of home the couple will build. I am blessed to have many homes, and I like that my heart belongs to them equally but in different ways.
The Salinas Valley will always be home in the sense that I spent a good portion of my life there, but this last visit led me to believe something I didn't know until now: home is where the heart is. My heart feels misplaced, a little homeless, until I remember that the people in my life love me and my heart is safe with them until I find home again.