Monday, November 26, 2012

A Long Way From Home

The past week has been a busy one for me, as I'm sure it has been for many people.  Not too long ago I encouraged all of us to slow down for the holidays, at least mentally, so when I say "busy" I just mean that my life has been rather full, not stressful.  Thursday was Thanksgiving, of course.  My parents hosted and we had the most full house that I've ever experienced for Thanksgiving though everyone who came, except for my grandmother and the three of us living in the house, came from at least an hour away.  Then yesterday I left my home to drive a little under three hours to where my father grew up in North Conway, New Hampshire, to visit with my grandfather and two sets of uncles and aunts; three of these five people I hadn't seen in quite a long time.  To cap it all off I then drove three more hours through some snow to Vermont to visit my girlfriend for a little while. 

Frankly, it has been one of the better weeks of my life.  Certainly the time my deck hockey team almost beat the national champions, the week before finally graduating from all school for all time, and the week that my good friends and I returned home from our first semester of college to reunite together were all great weeks.  The week I was born probably counts, too.  But this week has been magnificent, mostly because only recently have I realized how important family is in our lives, and how much I do, or at least can, love my own family.  Now that I'm an adult, or think that I am, I can have real conversations with my family, actually get to know them, and perhaps best of all, I can now learn from them.

I have spoken before of how beneficial, and oftentimes necessary, it is to immerse ourselves in the thoughts and styles of the teachers and masters of our trade that have gone before us.  I suppose now it's becoming what you might call a "theme" of my writing.  A theme indeed, because here I must add a little to what I have said before: we sometimes must go a long way from home to love and laugh with and experience and learn from those who have the most to teach us.  At the very least we learn about ourselves, and thus can better practice our art or move toward our ambition, when we can see ourselves in the lives of our family.  Little differentiates me from my brother, my parents, my uncles and aunts (even those who aren't blood-related sometimes), and my cousins.  Yes, I want to be my own person, and I will not stop strongly advocating individualism and the idea that we must all pursue and fulfill our own personality, as Oscar Wilde would say, but that's precisely my point: we can only fulfill our own individual personality by first seeing all the various potentialities that we are capable of and master them.  To do that, we must go a long way from home--metaphorically, if not also literally, as we vault away from our self-important attitudes.

Who we are as persons, our home, is perhaps the most valuable possession we have.  But for that possession's value to increase beyond worthlessness we must first go a long way from home to have the best experiences possible in order to properly return home, to our own personality and our own selves.  Our family, stretched out however far our family may have dispersed, should be stop number one on our journey a long way from home.

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