New Year is a rather strange holiday for me. Although they signal the start of a new calendar year, for me it doesn’t really signal much else. My own personal New Year has always been around my birthday, mostly because in August my age changes and a new school year begins. But alas, 2010 is coming to a close, and naturally, reflection occurs.
Earlier this year I made a series of propositions for myself, things to work toward to in my life. (The only “resolution” I actually made this year was to develop Kim Kardashian-esque hair, which I actually think I didn’t do too bad on.) One of them concerned my family, and I guess it’s safe to say my view on things have changed a bit since January. The 4 months I spent away in Costa Rica could not have been more of a mixed blessing. My time abroad made me realize my real mother, on some level, does love me. I no longer worried constantly about whether I’d get that dreaded phone call. Since my contact with them was limited, my anxiety about my family lessened. Instead, I trusted that everything would be OK.
And then, I was exposed to another kind of family life. It’s a bit unfair to compare my real family to my host family, but living with an actual loving, respectful family was like taking a giant breath of fresh air. My host mother is quite possibly the most loving person I have ever met; the complete opposite of my real mom. With them, I didn’t worry about anything. And I’m starting to truly miss that.
I’ve realized something. Home is a very relative term. For years, my “home” has always been here with my family in this typical suburban house. It’s where I’ve always planned to come back to, it’s where my life essentially revolves around. But now, two weeks into my return to American society, I find myself longing to go “home” elsewhere. I never thought I could settle my life anywhere outside of the Chicago area, but now I can. Even though all my belongings and memories are here, I can’t quite say that I feel like my life is here anymore. I’m starting to feel like there’s nothing — and nobody — left here for me anymore.
2011’s going to be quite the year. If all things go according to plan, I’ll be completing my undergraduate degree in May. There’ll be no going back to university after that, no going back to any kind of schooling after that. Maybe things will get better, or they’ll continue to get worse.
But all I want for the new year is to find that peace of mind again, the one I miraculously found in my time away. I need to be at peace.