I didn’t expect to write about adolescence quite so much for my thesis. They were not the most pleasant years, and I’ve avoided writing too much about it in the past because mostly I don’t like poking around dark musty corners of the hoarder’s attic that is my memory. Never can tell, in the dark, where the sharp things might be. It’s been kind of weird to finally attempt it, and I’ve tried to layer in some writing that’s a bit… fluffier, so that my thesis semester isn’t entirely unpleasant. My twenties have been kind of awesome and I’ve enjoyed growing into an adult, and life after twenty has provided plenty of random incidents worth writing about. Too bad most of the lighter stuff won’t make it into the thesis; it wouldn’t fit, tonally.
Applying to teach abroad may be a big factor in the somewhat unconscious choice to look backwards. I’m still trying to understand what, exactly, home means to me. Thinking about leaving Boston sometimes makes me hesitate about moving forward with my plans because it has become home. My apartment has become home. I’ve lived in the same place for three years now, and I was able to choose almost every detail in furnishing and decorating. It’s the first place that’s felt like it’s mine. Usually physical objects and physical locations aren’t something I become all that attached to, but I think what’s scary in this case is the possibility I will lose that feeling of home. I don’t know what I’ll come back to after my time abroad is over. Sometimes the coming upheaval seems exhilariting-scary, and sometimes it’s the kind of scary that makes me wonder if I’m making the right choice.
Living abroad has been a dream of mine since I was probably about fifteen, so the occasional doubt and fear is unlikely to sway me. It’s that same long lived aspect of the dream that makes me keep looking back at teenage me, remembering how anime and manga got me interested in drawing and life outside America. There’s an important difference between seeking new experiences as a form of escape and seeking new experiences for the sake of trying out a fresh perspective. Teenage me would have sought the former, but by the time I studied abroad in London at the age of 22 I understood the difference and sought the latter. That’s what made London such a great experience; I wanted to try new things, and I had matured to the point I knew problems can’t be escaped but must be dealt with instead.
At least I’ve found a few things worth salvaging from the dark and cluttered memory attic, recovered few more of the happy memories that had been packed away in mislabeled boxes. Chances are the future upheaval will end up creating more of the memories I want to keep in plain view than it’ll create of the attic kind. There’s never been a guarantee that I’d find a great job in Boston after I graduate, and there isn’t a guarantee I will find a job here when I return, so I guess I get to keep redefining the idea of home as I meander onward.