Embracing nostalgia

It’s hard not to get nostalgic when you’re in your hometown.

Having spent this past summer in Big Rapids completing an internship, it’s been awhile since I’ve been home for a significant amount of time. I honestly can’t remember being in St. Joe longer than a weekend since last winter break.

With that said, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the flood of emotions that greeted me when I returned home for Thanksgiving break; however, it caught me completely off-guard.

Unlike my usual rushed weekend visits, I had time to breathe. I was able to spend some time reflecting on everything that’s happened in the (almost) four years since I left for college.

While my high school experience was enjoyable, it was nothing special because I was eager to move onto bigger and better things. I remember telling anyone who would listen how I couldn’t wait to get out of St. Joe.

Fast forward four years and I’m back in the town I once continuously thought about leaving behind. Although my 18-year-old self would never believe me, being in St. Joe was comforting.

Sure, a few things had changed. New restaurants and shops opened downtown. The high school had an addition built on. My mom even switched out my twin bed for a full.

However, most things were just like I remembered. The ice skating rink where I’d spent many Saturday nights opened the day after Thanksgiving. The green grass of the high school football field peeked out from underneath the snow. My parents left the front porch lights on until I came home.

Although initially surprised, I welcomed the feelings of nostalgia. Embracing these feelings gave me the opportunity to reflect on the person I’ve become. In some ways I feel like I haven’t changed at all, and in others, I feel like I couldn’t be more different.

The experiences we’ve had and shared with others can define the people we are today. Being in my hometown put my ever-evolving personality into perspective, which is important as I prepare to toss my cap into the air once again and say goodbye to another home.