A curious phenomenon has struck me tonight that I have never before experienced myself, although I have often read of it elsewhere. I am not sure how to term it, but for now “blogging-lust” will have to do. In short, I needed to write this entry. I am usually slightly skeptical when I hear people speaking of things they just “had to do” before they could sleep, as I usually consider this to be enforcing bad sleeping habits. But tonight I caved in. I just spent the past half hour lying in bed literally narrating this entry to myself, so I may as well get it all out now, while I still know it, because I am certainly not sleeping anyway. And It will be no use waiting to try to replicate it in the morning. For one, I will be too tired (whether I write this or not.)
The theme of this entry is one I have debated addressing for some time, because it is one of high emotional significance, and one I was unsure I would be able to speak of clearly. The sheer poignancy of it can clearly be explained by the difficultly I had in titling this entry, not from lack of quotable lyrics, but from an overwhelming abundance. The topic is, of course, home.
I am not homesick. Not, at least, in the same way I was at first. It has been weeks since I found myself curled in a ball weeping for lack of friends and family. In fact, this only happened a very few times shortly after my arrival. I am not so panicked or frightened as I was at first, and the prospect of completing my year is not so daunting. I no longer feel the dull, ache in my heart that accompanied me for the first weeks, with a slight break while I was busy enjoying France. Nor do I expect to have to deal with many more of the sudden onslaughts that caught me at unawares in awkward situations on several occasions, bringing tears to my eyes even as near as a few weeks ago. I believe I have better control of myself now, and this is a good thing. But in a different sense, I am still homesick. It is a more thoughtful homesick, and one I have not yet entirely explored, but I would like to attempt to do so now.
First, however, I want to describe exactly the feeling that the former, and far worse, homesickness was for me. Homesickness is not fear of being away from home, the way kids are often homesick at their first sleepover, or their first week of camp. What most people think of when they talk about homesickness, I believe, can best be described as the feeling of being “left behind.” My last experience of this feeling was when I realized how many of my friends were moving through college, some starting their first year, some coming close to their last, all thinking and planning their future educational careers with some semblance of certainty and anticipation. I felt as if they were all being draw up into some sort of college rapture, while I had been deemed unworthy to be drawn into the bliss of money-draining, caffine-stimulated, exam-pressured university paradise.
Yes, the thought of not going to school this fall really did bring me to tears.
But if you can imagine the feeling that may come when you hear the plans all your friends and loved ones are making, plans you are not present to share and experience with them, you may have some idea of what this homesickness I am talking about feels like. (It was very hard for me to keep in mind that, by definition, my life can only be lived my be, and therefore it is impossible for me to leave it behind anywhere. Many of the people and places and events that composed my experience of life can be left behind, but that is something a little different from my life itself.) The way to overcome it, of course, is to start making plans for your own life, and to become interested and excited in those plans. I like making plans. I am very good at them. I often make too many. Coming up with a couple I could believe in was not hard.