It was the first time that I had returned home since I decided that I would return home after being away for the past decade. ¬†It was not as I expected. ¬†Now as I have mentioned before I have been back for short visits before, but each time before I had no plan to return for a more extended period.
Throughout my visit this time my thoughts began to think about the very real possibility that in six months I will be leaving the place that I have lived for the past ten years and I will be returning to the place I grew up. ¬†For the first time this thought scared me. ¬†For perhaps the first time I thought of Philadelphia as home and the place I grew up was something else. ¬†It was a place that was both familiar and strange. ¬†I remembered that I once lived there. ¬†I remembered that was once my home, but I was unsure if it would be again. ¬†The person that left all those years ago is not the same person that will return. ¬†It was as if I had the memories of someone else and I would be assuming their life, but would not ever be able to be them again.
I could not wait to get on the train in Boston and head back south. ¬†On the journey back there were moments I sat and started blankly at the world rushing by. ¬†I was lost. ¬†I found myself thinking that I might actually miss Philadelphia. ¬†I began to think of everything that has happened since I left home and moved down here. ¬†On the trip from the train station to my home I looked out the window of the car. ¬†Everything was familiar. ¬†I knew this city. ¬†I was comfortable in this city. ¬†I felt the contrast of this with the feeling of unfamiliarity I experienced while back home. ¬†I wondered if I was about to make a mistake. ¬†Now, in general I don’t think moving back to New England would be a mistake, but that doesn’t mean moving back into the house I grew up in wouldn’t be. ¬†I can’t help but see it as a set back or a near failure of sorts. ¬†I wonder where this all is going. ¬†I never imagined my life would turn out this way. ¬†There were so many other things I had once imagined that would have not brought me to this path. ¬†This was something I never considered. ¬†And while moving back may not be a failure in and of itself, it does sort of represent all of the failures that have brought me to this point.
As I drove though the streets of Philadelphia tonight another thought entered my mind. ¬†For so many years I often felt as if I was putting various aspects of my life on hold while living in this city. ¬†I always had this feeling that if I remained here I went wrong somewhere. ¬†I didn’t want to get attached. ¬†In some ways I was waiting to live my life. ¬†But what I failed to realize or appreciate was that I was living my life. ¬†It wasn’t on hold. ¬†I was just making excuses for things. ¬†Looking back, so much has happened and my life is such that I fear returning to the home of my youth would mean giving up all or at least most of what I have become. ¬†I fear that I will be taking a step back and putting everything on hold. ¬†I fear that my life will change and not for the better.