Last night I took Fred for a walk around the neighborhood I grew up in. He was great and stayed next to me the entire time without any pulling so that’s a huge win for me. Because of this I could focus less on choking my dog and pulling my arm out of my socket and really look around and notice what has been there for years.
I got to thinking about going back in time. How would my life look if I had the ability to go back to my senior year of high school, when I would walk to my friend’s houses in the neighborhood. When I knew who lived where and was always really excited when I got invited in to a guys’s house**. What if I could do it all over again and change my destiny; where I went to college, what I studied, who I dated, where I traveled, the dreams I had.
The neighborhood looks the same as I remember it yet, at the same time, everything about it has changed. The houses are the same colors, the air conditioning units still sit in the windows because nobody has updated to central air, the fences are still up but old and crumbling and the bbq grills still sit in the driveway. The difference, and it’s a big one, is that so many people who once lived there; parents and my friends from high school have moved away and a new generation of people have moved in. The bikes and old beat up Corollas once driven by teenagers have been replaced with children’s bikes, swings and the sounds of bratty little kids playing in the backyard.
The teenagers who once lived in these neighborhoods are now married parents who bought their parents house or who purchased their first home when those parents moved to Florida. An entire new generation of kids are being raised here, walking to junior high, driving to high school with big dreams of their own, turning into teenagers who smoke and eat at Denny’s at 1 in the morning after a night of sneaking around partying and losing their virginity.
How can it be that I have been away from the home I grew up in longer than when I lived there? Where are all of those friends and high school acquaintances now? Have they moved to California? Turned into doctors? Had three kids of their own? How can I remember so clearly the wallpaper in the homes and carpet in the basement when it’s been over 20 years since I’ve been in them? Who has the bedroom in the back of the house now I remember sleeping over in?
I have my own neighborhood now but I don’t think it will ever feel as home as the one I grew up in. My neighborhood looks completely different and I don’t have the connection from my past there that began the process of making me who I am today.
**I don’t really think I was invited to a guy’s house. And if I was, it was because I was in a group science project with one.