You Can’t Go Home Again

“You can’t go home again.” That statement is, among other things, a book title, a cliché, and…utterly, totally true.

I was chatting with one of my nears and dears yesterday, someone with whom I’ve shared the kind of experiences and laughter that cement a heart bond. As we typed to each other, and then switched to a video call, I realized that we’re now on opposite sides of the world. There are literally oceans and continents between us in either direction.

I still think of Oklahoma as “back home.” Being in immigration limbo, I can’t really travel back to Oklahoma to visit yet, not until I gain permanent resident status here. But I’ve realized that, even though I’ll be thrilled to go back and visit when my status allows, I can’t ever go “home” again. My concept of “home” isn’t a location. It’s not a particular patch of dirt, it can’t be found along along a familiar stretch of road, and it’s not tied to some specific building, neighborhood, city, state, or even nation.

Home was the life I had in Oklahoma. It changed as time went on, but it was made up mostly of people, those who filled my life with noise and motion, laughter and understanding. Certainly, I called various houses and apartments in Oklahoma “home” at different times in my life. But the word really meant much more, and was much bigger. I realize now that “home” depended as much (or more?) on time as it did on space. And I can never, ever get back to that time. It’s a memory, not some concrete spot to which I can return.

When I finally get to go back to the States to visit, it won’t be the same. Already, one dear friend is across the globe, another is in Europe, another will soon move to Japan. Of those who remain, some may not have time and room in their lives to fit in a visit, others may have fallen out of touch. I won’t be a “regular” anywhere anymore. I moved, and people move on.

I’m not devastated by this realization, but I am…I guess wistful is the best word I can come up with to describe how I feel (after a few minutes on thesaurus.com). Or perhaps nostalgic. I am saddened. But I am also smiling as I rifle through the memories in my mind. There’s quite a catalog, so many good times! It’s beyond reach now, forever, but I sure did have fun while I occupied that time and space. I can never go home again, but that home lives in my heart and can never be taken from me, either.

5 thoughts on “You Can’t Go Home Again

  1. Heather says:

    Oh, my darling friend. I know I’ll feel exactly the same way in six months when we move halfway across the world. I’ll be oceans away and may only come back once a year. At least you only have to learn a new language. I also have to interpret what the hell squiggly lines mean! God forbid I offend people with my Western ways. Did you know it’s considered very rude to blow your nose in front of people in Okinawa? God forbid I should get cold. *sigh* Hon, the old saying rings true: Home is where the heart is. And since yours is as big as Texas, you’ve made plenty of room for people all over the world, who look forward to seeing you again whenever that may be and making even more memories with you. 🙂 ❤ you.

  2. quebecokie says:

    I was thinking of you (obviously) as I wrote this. Yep, you’re in the same boat, or will be soon enough. Home IS where the heart is, and that damned Canadian has mine, so here I am, in the land of not-spring. I’m very, very thankful that I’m on this ride in a time when technology at least allows us to keep in touch easily without much expense. When I can see a friend’s face and talk to her from the opposite side of the globe…that’s pretty great.

    I happen to agree with the Japanese on the nose-blowing thing, lol. That’s pretty much a bathroom function to me. 😛

    <3, pretty lady. To memories yet to be made!

  3. Paula says:

    That’s why it is so important to enjoy every minute. It’s the small moments that make the best and treasured memories!

  4. otterview says:

    The statement about not being a regular strikes me to the core. Not having that place where everybody knows your name makes it tough to feel at home. Thankfully we have the future in our hands and on our laps to have little moments of “home” together. ❤

    • quebecokie says:

      Thank goodness we live in the future, right?!?! I don’t think I could do this in an earlier time, when long distance phone calls costs money, when there was no way to be face to face across the distance, or easily receive pictures and videos the day they were taken.

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