home again

the clock on my computer says its 5:42pm, which means my body thinks its 10:42pm.  i’m on a plane somewhere over the pacific ocean, on my way back to honolulu, after having spent nearly two weeks on the mainland.  i spent the first few days in dallas, texas for a conference, but this post isn’t about that.  i’m writing about my trip home.

i was there for five days, over the yom kippur holiday.  the holiday itself isn’t one for particular celebration; it is the day of repentance and fasting and asking forgiveness from those we have wronged over the past year.  i went to services at a shul that i actually like for the first time since i’ve been in hawaii.  and i broke the traditional fast with my family, also something i haven’t been able to do since coming to the islands.

but none of this is what i really want to talk about.  i celebrated my four year anniversary in hawaii on planes and in airports returning from this visit home, which is both interesting and somewhat ironic.  when i left for hawaii, i planned to only be here for about a year, or so.  i never intended to stay for any extended period of time, though i’m not sure that i intended to return to kansas.  now four years have passed and there is no clear indication or plan as to when i might depart.  it comes as a great surprise to me that i have managed to make somewhat of a home for myself here.

what else is strange is that this trip home is the first in four years from which i wasn’t eager to return.  i laughed with, drank with, and enjoyed the company of all my old friends (and a couple with whom i had lost touch).  i spent time at home and with family.  but one of this differed from previous trip, so why was it to hard for me to leave this time?  this is the question i’ve been struggling to answer for the better part of a week; i have yet to come up with an answer that satisfies me.

in fact, i’ve only been able to come up with one possible reason for these sad feelings of being so far away from home.  in the four years since i moved to honolulu (not to mention for most of my life), i’ve been unhappy, depressed.  i’ve had low self-esteem and doubted my place in the world.  after more than three years of regular therapy, this is the first time in my life that i can say, honestly, that i am happy.  i like myself and i am proud of who i am; those are things i’ve never been able to say before.  so, could it be that my new found self-confidence and self-esteem somehow translate into a longing to be closer to home?  i’m not sure, but so far, it’s the best i can come up with.

so, as a result of these odd feelings, i’ve started toying with the idea of moving home, if only temporarily, and i’m forced to honestly look at what my life might be life if i were to return to overland park.  how long would i be happy there?  would i feel like i was moving backward, instead of forward?  would i be able to pursue a career as a far-left-leaning liberal democrat in kansas?

regarding a move back to kansas, i have conflicting voices in my head.  one voice (which is that of my father) says a life in kansas would be one of mediocrity.  it is his voice that says moving back to overland park would be a step backward, that i couldn’t continue to progress there.  another voice (which is that of my ex-shrink), says that there are no wrong choices and that there would be nothing wrong with moving back, because there’s nothing that says i’d have to stay there.  yet another voice (which is my own), says if i were to move back, i would quickly come to realize that it is, in fact, not the place for me, regardless of friends and family.  i am having difficulty reconciling these voices with one another and am still unclear whether missing being close to friends and family and familiar surroundings is a signal that its time for me to return, or a signal that i am simply having difficulty with the notion that i have grown beyond my roots in kansas.

while i weigh the options regarding my future, i’m not sure that anything but time will provide me with answers to these questions.

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    October 19, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

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