It is almost that time of year for hundreds of thousands of college students to venture home for the first, more expedited holiday. The few days spent at home are often the first time we get to actually see our former high school classmates in person since the summer or even longer. The older I get, the more distant the high school social scene has a part to play in who I see, what I do, or how I dress, but at the same time, there is an untold sense of security and insecurity that is felt when you run into your old classmates. If you go home for Thanksgiving chances are your break will look at little like this.
You go home and immediately start texting, tweeting, and Facebooking your friends to see who is back in town. You send "back home bithe$Z" or something along those lines and wait for a flood of responses. Chances are the feedback is less impressive than you wanted. After driving home from the airport, arguing with your parents along the way, and getting back into your childhood room, you immediately realize just how nice it is to be home. The clothes left in your closet, the now completely useless eighth of pot you forgot smoke, and all of your old trophies, medals, and pictures instantly remind you that you are no longer the new person created in college. The person you are at home is the same person that was still in the closet in high school, doesn't smoke cigarettes, and wears polos instead of tanks tops.
Soon after settling back in you want to see your closest of friends, the friends who have witnessed your transformation into your current self, and go grab lunch at your favorite restaurant. You are just excited to see them as they are to see you, yet you notice there is something different about everything. Your friendship is still great, just a lot different than what is was a few years back. The majority of your time together is spent reminiscing about the old rather than talking about the present. It's a little bittersweet knowing that you can never go back to what you had, but also comforting in the fact that you can trust these people, who know you are, where you come from, and your true values more than your newly found friends in the big city.
Somewhere during lunch, a few old high school classmates come in, give you a fake smile, and proceed to make small talk. They were people you really couldn't stand in high school, but are obligated thanks in part to an indescribable social pressure to put on a fake smile and chit chat. After the "you look so good," "I love your new style," and "remember when so-and-so did that?" they leave and you instantly start talking about how much you can't stand them. As lunch winds down, you find yourself bored and forced to go home seeing that there really isn't much you can do in the suburbs by yourself without looking like a complete tool.
Thanksgiving comes and goes, you go shopping on Black Friday and constantly text your new friends how boring everything has become. At the same time, you feel a slight sense of guilt knowing that while everything may be boring, there is a profound comfort in knowing you're home, finally back in a place you thought you didn't belong, but know so well that you may in fact actually like to move here after "settling down." As the weekend winds down you go to the local bar where everyone can go now that you're either 21 or have a fake ID.
At the bar are the kids you can't stand, the female exes that know you're now a gay living in New York, or even the exes that even committed the untold of sin of having a homosexual relationship in one of the reddest states out there! Your heart drops as you try to avoid each other but inevitably realize that there is no other way around it. You quickly realize just how much a part of you your life at home really is, as much as you try to shed it off when you're at school. The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, your hometown will always be your hometown. It is the place you had your first kiss, learned how to drive, ditched gym to go get bagels, and everything in between. While it may have its ups it certainly has its down, but one thing is for certain, wherever you come from is something you should not feel embarrassed about, it is something you should take in and learn from, something that shouldn't define who you are, but also someplace that will keep you grounded as you strive to be the person you want to be.